The Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority, the sole holdout in the state still refusing to fluoridate its drinking water, plans to appeal a March 7 Circuit Court ruling that OMRPWA cannot refuse to fluoridate based on being a wholesale water supplier with 18 towns, none of which has 5,000 customers.
The Arkansas Department of Health is enforcing a state legislative mandate that all water systems with more than 5,000 customers must fluoridate their drinking water. OMRPWA appealed the ADH decision to the Boone County Circuit Court maintaining it should be exempted because it has only 18 small towns and rural water association customers that individually don’t serve more than 5,000 people.
Andy Anderson, OMRPWA Chair, said while they appeal the decision, they are urging their customers to contact legislators to change the law to allow exemptions for wholesale water authorities like OMRPWA, which serves Boone, Newton, Searcy and parts of Marion County.
“We have to get the law changed,” Anderson said. “The more I learn about fluoridation, the more it irritates me that our state legislators and ADH have forced this on us. They do not seem to understand or are willing to admit the harm fluoride causes to a lot of people. It is a neurotoxin, more toxic than lead, and has been linked to autism, ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease. A couple weeks ago, a new study showed the eyes are affected by fluoride increasing glaucoma and macular degeneration.”
Anderson said there is no doubt in his mind that the addition of fluoridation chemicals to the Carroll Boone Water District in 2015 is to blame for increased lead levels seen in the drinking water of Harrison and Eureka Springs. Harrison has exceeded the EPA threshold for lead and is taking corrective action. In 2018, lead testing in Eureka increased to .014 ppm, which is just .001 ppm away from the EPA lead action level of .015 ppm.
“It has been demonstrated that fluoride will leach lead out of plumbing,” he said. “Around the country there are reports of when they stopped feeding fluoride the lead levels dropped.”
When the mandate went into effect, there were groups in Carroll County, including the City of Eureka Springs, and in Hot Springs and Fort Smith that opposed fluoridation. But those groups gave up after the water districts – facing potential lawsuits such as the one filed against OMRPWA – caved in and added fluoride.
Anderson said he will keep fighting fluoridation until it is out of the community water or he dies.
“There are more than 130 human and animal studies that show fluoride is harmful to humans, animals and the environment,” Anderson said. “Talking to some of the national folks opposed to fluoridation, they tell me more than 350 studies around the world show the harm of fluoride. The more I learn about the damage it causes, the more determined I get.
“And 97 percent of the world does not add fluoride. The U.S. is the largest country that feeds it. Other people realize it is harmful. It is an invasion. It is a medical intervention to prevent dental cavities. With other medical interventions, you have to give consent. Since we didn’t get to vote on it, we are not giving our consent. It was forced on us. So that is a violation of our rights.”
Anderson said more and more dentists are coming out against fluoridation. If someone wants a fluoride treatment, they can use fluoridated toothpaste or have a varnish put on their teeth under dental supervision. By putting it in the water, the dose can’t be regulated because some people drink a lot water, and others not very much. Fluoride doesn’t break down in the environment, and can build up in the food chain.
“Why do they say don’t mix powdered baby formula with fluoridate water?” Anderson asks. “It is because the baby will get too big of a dose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fluoridation of public water supplies is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The CDC also says the benefit is topical, not ingesting it.”
The average household uses between three and four thousand gallons of water a month.
“How much of that is ingested?” Anderson asks. “About 99.9 percent of water is used for things like washing clothes, doing dishes, bathing, flushing, and gardening. What is discharged ends up in our streams and the environment.
“Fluoride is harmful to fish and a lot of the watershed we serve is the Buffalo National River. In the Northwest, in some areas the salmon can no longer figure out how to get up the water ladders put there to help them go upriver to spawn because fluoride discharged from wastewater plants affects them mentally. We know from studies it lowers the IQ in people and animals.”
Studies have shown that rates of cavities have come down at the same rate in countries that fluoridate and those who don’t. Anderson said the rate of cavities has nothing to do with fluoride; the biggest cause of cavities is excess sugar.
In addition to leaching, fluoridation chemicals contain contaminants including lead and arsenic. The Safe Drinking Water Act prohibits the addition of lead to drinking water. Anderson doesn’t understand why that doesn’t apply to fluoridation chemicals. He also points to a 1983 letter from EPA that states the fluoridation chemicals are a waste product from the fertilizer industry, and fluoridation solves a problem the fertilizer industry has with disposal. Anderson contends that comes at the expense of the health of people and the environment.
He also points to a recent overfeed of fluoride in Sandy, Utah. About 500 people were harmed.
“Lead and copper levels went out of sight,” Anderson said. “There is going to be a lawsuit by people who were harmed by it. Who is going to be liable for it? It is going to come back on the utility, not the health department that made them put it in there.”
He also objects on the grounds that a lot of their customers in Newton and Searcy counties were forced by the health department to join the community water system because of excess naturally-occurring fluoride in the water.
“As soon as they get signed on to our water system, Arkansas comes out and says you have to add fluoride back to your water,” Anderson said. “That naturally occurring fluoride was calcium fluoride. The sodium fluoride added to drinking water is 85 times more reactive than calcium fluoride.”