Anti-fluoride bill introduced in House

Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita.

Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita. by Phil Cauthon

A Wichita lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require cities that fluoridate the water to notify users "that the latest science confirms that ingested fluoride lowers the I.Q. in children."

House Bill 2372 was offered by Rep. Steve Brunk, a Republican, who said he introduced the bill on behalf of Mark Gietzen, a conservative GOP activist and anti-abortion lobbyist also of Wichita.

But Brunk said he did not expect the bill to advance and that he had no interest in it himself.

"That was a constituent request," Brunk said. "As a courtesy, I gave him a bill introduction and told him that was as far as it goes. I'm not his champion of the cause," he said.

"I'm not aware of any interest in this bill at all (among fellow legislators). I'd be surprised if the (committee) chairman gives him a hearing."

Fluoridation has long been accepted by public health experts in the U.S. and elsewhere as an effective means to combat tooth decay, especially in children. Its use has been widespread among public water suppliers in the U.S. since the 1960s. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 74 percent of the nation relies on fluoridated water supplies. The CDC has linked public fluoridation with an increase in the incidence of dental fluorisis, a condition that can cause tooth enamel to appear streaked but is not generally considered harmful to health.

Most research on the subject has shown municipal water fluoridation to be a safe and and effective practice. There are a few scientists who say their studies suggest otherwise, and that their findings have been marginalized by the broader scientific community.

Gietzen told KHI News Service he hoped to take advantage of the recent publicity surrounding Wichita's citywide vote on whether to fluoridate its public drinking water. Voters there rejected fluoridation, just as they did previously in 1978 and 1964. Wichita is among the few larger American cities that do not fluoridate public water supplies. The cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan and dozens of others in Kansas do add the CDC-recommended amount of fluoride to driking water. Many rural water districts also provide fluoridated water to their customers.

"The momentum of the Wichita fluoride debate (is) something we want to capitalize on," Gietzen said. "With everything — asbestos, lead, thalidomide, the drug we once thought was so good — when more modern science shows you that what you thought in the past was good and now you know it's not good, you need to put the brakes on it and stop harming people."

Gietzen cited a a 2012 study co-authored by a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health that showed children in areas with high naturally occurring fluoride have significantly lower I.Q. scores than children in low-fluoride areas. He said it was that study that convinced him to vote against fluoridating Wichita's water.

"Eight months ago I didn't know how I was going to vote on the Wichita fluoride debate. I couldn't even spell fluoride, truth be known," Gietzen said. "If something opened your eyes and you realized you have knowledge of something other people are being harmed by and they didn't even know it, wouldn't you feel the obligation to at least let them know?"

The study by the Harvard researcher, however, mostly considered the effects of high levels of fluoride on brain development among children in China because that's where there are significant numbers of people exposed to high levels of fluoride, often from well water and not as the result of municipal fluoridation. The study's authors noted that it was difficult to find study subjects in other industrialized countries because children there aren't exposed to high fluoride levels in the water "even when fluoride is added to water supplies as a public health measure to reduce tooth decay."

Download the Harvard study and the anti-fluoride bill on khi.org.

Tagged: public, prevention, gietzen, fluoridation, cdc, oral, health, water, fluoride, brunk, wichita, dental, kansas

Comments

Centerville 1 year, 1 month ago

Before any municipality dumps a lot of tax money into this project, it should know whether its people actually drink the tap water. If most are getting their drinking water (especially for their children) at the grocery store, there's not much point.

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question4u 1 year, 1 month ago

This bill should definitely advance. Legislators seem intent upon strengthening so many other stereotypes of Kansas, why not give validation to the "toothless" one? Also, legislators have shown their strong faith in marginalized scientists on issues like evolution and climate change, so wouldn't they look like hypocrites if they didn't back the marginalized scientists on this issue? Finally, there's probably some federal study that has determined that fluoride is safe, and worse yet that study might have been carried out by experts. Those are two obvious reasons why the Kansas Legislature has to advance this bill. If you give the impression that experts should be relied upon, you'll take the legs right out from under most legislators, not to mention the governor. How will Kansas government continue to operate if facts and reason become influential?

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christie 1 year, 1 month ago

Isn't this Dr. Strangelove all over again... ? My god these (Republican) people are so stupid it's not even funny.

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mikekt 1 year, 1 month ago

And I thought that our legislature was going to step up and solve the upcoming demise of the Ogallala Aquifer or perhaps build more surface reservoirs .......as in..... waste your water not.....want not to have wasted water to be replaced by pumping it in from elsewhere.

Somebody tell these rePublicans, that they chlorinate drinking water, using either Chlorine Gas ( poisonous mustard gas ) or perhaps Diluted Liquid Sodium Hyper-Chloride ( the street name for this stuff is,.......laundry bleach ) which kills the bacterias in the raw water that would otherwise kill them and their children .

Obviously, .....to most folks,.... who don't belong to "THE PARTY",...... taking too many aspirins can kill you........and eating too much food can be a danger to ones health also.

"GET A LICENSE", please,........if you wish to practice dentistry or medicine !

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 1 month ago

"thalidomide, the drug we once thought was so good"

That's not a good example, it's a medication that's on the market today. For instance, if you have cancer of various types, leprosy, or HIV infection, Thalidomide is a very good thing. But, its use needs to be very carefully controlled, it can never be handled by women who might be pregnant.

A clip from wiki, but all of these claims are sourced:
Thalidomide is also being investigated for treating prostate cancer, glioblastoma, lymphoma, arachnoiditis, Behçet's disease, and Crohn's disease. In a small trial, Australian researchers found thalidomide caused a doubling of the number of T cells in patients, allowing the patients' own immune system to attack cancer cells.

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Ken Hunt 1 year, 1 month ago

This post was so funny...thanks Republicans for making my day.

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