To the editor: 

In reply to Dr. Gardner’s recent letter (“Fluoride is safe and effective,” March 7), which was primarily an attack on the author of another letter (“Elected officials need to address fluoride issue,” Feb. 7), the science published in recent years does not support the dogma that Dr. Gardner learned in medical school (class of 1962). Twenty-first century science confirms fluoride causes many ill effects in bodies, bones and brains. The fluoride added to Cape Ann water supplies is not the natural mineral calcium fluoride often found in local waters. Rather, it is the imported man-made waste product of Chinese factories -- sodium fluoride, harvested from their pollution control systems, and labelled as a “Class 6.1 Toxin” (falling between arsenic and lead in its toxicity) by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

If the doctor had taken the time to go to a local water treatment plant and obtained the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), mandatory government labeling for all hazardous materials, he would find that the 50-pound bags that are delivered to local water treatment plants have a large “skull and crossbones” label on them with the word “toxic” in bold letters, and many health warnings, but no warranty of safety. The MSDS sheets state this product is also used as an insecticide, with the warning “Do not release into sewers or waterways.” Yet, when it is used as a “water additive” that caution is ignored.

I am sure Dr. Gardner believes in his mid-20th century education, which included medical paternalism, but in the 21st century, doctors, dentists, scientists and an educated populace are advocating for their individual rights to determine their own medical treatment. Several state legislatures, including Connecticut and New Hampshire, are listening to expert testimony and constituent voices in support of legislation that would do away with immoral medical mandates foisted on communities by arrogant fluoridationists who prefer myths to modern data. As Thomas Paine wrote in “Common Sense”: “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

Dr. Gardner, I am one of those you mentioned who is forced to buy bottled spring water because my town poisons the drinking water for me (and an estimated 15 percent to 30 percent of the population at large) with a known toxin, against the will of those who’ve taken the time to learn more about the issue than the local boards of health in the communities that continue to add fluoride. I am also someone who has served for 32 years on the Rockport Conservation Commission. I am very alarmed at the science that documents fluoridated waste water harms plants and animals, and fluoridated drinking water harms me.

No doctor on earth would prescribe a medicine to a patient and then say, “Take as much or as little as you feel like.” Yet that is exactly what is happening with fluoridated water supplies. You drink one glass of tap water per day, and I drink 10, I’m getting 10 times the dose of fluoride -- a known toxin -- that you are! That’s morally and ethically wrong. And inexpensive grocery store available water purification systems cannot remove fluoride from water.

Many of us on Cape Ann are tired of paternalistic behavior that attempts to bully us into compliance with an immoral medical mandate. The doctor seems to think that he knows more than the 18 Nobel Prize-winning scientists and chemists that have declared that fluoride in drinking water is toxic to humans. He ignores the fact that 95 percent of the world does not fluoridate water supplies; that 97 percent of Europe does not fluoridate; that 73 percent of Massachusetts cities and towns including Worcester (the second-largest city in Massachusetts) and including all of Berkshire and Franklin counties, and all of Cape Cod communities, do NOT fluoridate (poison) their water supplies. He ignores the fact that 87 percent of Vermont communities, 81 percent of Maine communities and 63 percent of New Hampshire communities do not fluoridate (poison) their water supplies. And there is no statistical difference between tooth cavities in non-fluoridated communities/countries versus those with fluoridation schemes.

Please attend the town meetings on April 1 in Manchester and April 27 in Rockport, where water fluoridation is on the agenda, and vote to direct the Board of Selectmen in both towns to petition the state Legislature to allow both towns to stop the poisoning of our water supplies. Your long-term health may depend on it.

Alan MacMillan

Rockport

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