Vallone: Fluoride – If In Doubt, Keep It Out
By Peter Vallone Jr.
Did you know that the government is putting toxic chemicals in our water which come from the scrubbing systems of the fertilizer industry and are classified as “hazardous wastes” (sodium fluorosilicate and fluorosilicic acid). Are you concerned? You should be. Unfortunately, when these chemicals are called “fluoride,” safety concerns go down the drain.
There is a growing body of evidence that fluoride does more harm than good. One need only do a modicum of research to find the many anti-fluoride websites and studies. One of the most useful is “50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation,” by Dr. Paul Connett (www.slwebb.org), where the sources for much of the medical information I used can be found. Most recently, a study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health (Dec. 17) linked fluoride in water, at lower levels than what the EPA considers “safe,” to lower IQ in children. While four out of five dentists may be enough to pick a gum, ALL should agree before we force-medicate the public (a practice which many, including myself, would oppose under almost any circumstance).
Fluoride is a toxic substance which accumulates in our bones and tissues throughout our lives. Only 50% of it is excreted. While all poisons have “safe” levels, common sense dictates it is impossible to monitor fluoride intake in individuals when it is in almost everything we eat and drink, and the amount of water and food people ingest varies widely. A 2008 report prepared for Congress by the Congressional Research Service concluded the allowable amounts of fluoride should be lowered in order to prevent children from developing severe enamel fluorosis and reduce the lifetime accumulation of fluoride in bone which “is likely to put individuals at greater risk of bone fracture and possibly skeletal fluorosis.” This finding has been ignored.
Proponents of fluoride admit it is deadly at certain levels (one teaspoonful can kill an adult), but maintain that its effectiveness at fighting tooth decay offsets any potential harm. However, studies prove that tooth decay has decreased in areas without water fluoridation at the same levels as areas that fluoridate. Additionally, in areas and countries that have discontinued fluoridation, dental decay has actually decreased. The main reason for this is, as the Center for Disease Control has now acknowledged, any benefits from fluoride are topical. Fluoride toothpastes are effective and are not meant to be swallowed (because of the fluoride).
Since I recently introduced my legislation to ban fluoridation, the Daily News wants to put a “tinfoil hat” on me, while the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) had called me “hysterical,” “bizarre and unscientific,” and stated that “the evidence of diminished IQ may best be observed among certain city Council Members.” More importantly, since my law, the Government just released studies confirming the harm caused by ingesting fluoride and recommending that allowable levels be decreased to an amount lower than what exists in NYC water right now! The Government, and industry funded hacks like the ACSH, cannot now admit they were wrong - because of the huge potential liability - so this is their first step toward a future elimination of this toxin. Expect soon to read a government release saying that fluoride is being removed because of the huge costs involved, and the fact that we can all get enough of it from other sources. There will be no admission of fault, nor any apology to the growing chorus of those “hysterical” voices which tried to protect the public.
So before the Daily News fits me for my tinfoil hat, they should probably pick up a few extra rolls of foil for the many doctors, scientists, Nobel Prize winners and countries who support my position (or rather, whose position I support). France has rejected fluoride for “ethical as well as medical considerations,” Austria and Denmark have stated, “toxic fluorides have never been added to our water,” while Belgium echoed most of Western Europe when it stated, “it is not the task of drinking water to deliver medicinal treatment to the people.”
Even the union representing the scientists at EPA headquarters has said, “The toxicity of fluoride is so great and the purported benefits are so small – if there are any at all – that requiring every man, woman and children in America to ingest it borders on criminal behavior…”
It’s time for an intelligent discussion to be had on this controversial practice. I believe after that occurs, most people will support the City using the “Precautionary Principle,” which says, if in doubt, leave it out.
Peter Vallone Jr. is a New York City Councilmember representing the 22nd District.
Dean Skelos Iffy On Redistricting Promise He Made
By HENRY J. STERN
Word is out that Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos may not intend to comply with the promise he made to New York Uprising that the Republicans in the state senate would support an independent commission to redraw Senate and Assembly district lines for the 2012 elections. New York Uprising has Skelos’ signed pledge and a copy of his letter to Mayor Koch.
The entire Republican caucus in the Senate endorsed New York Uprising’s proposal for an independent non-political redistricting. The G.O.P. Senators and candidates for seats held by Democrats were recognized for their decision by being authorized to use the New York Uprising logo and the designation “Hero of Reform.” The approval by the group headed by former Mayor Ed Koch was valuable to Republican candidates, who won control of the Senate by the narrowest of margins, 32 to 30. Several of the seats won by Republicans were carried by margins of a few hundred votes. Twenty-nine Republicans agreed to the pledge, the total number of Republicans serving in the Senate at that time. One Republican passed away in July.
Mayor Koch has written several letters to Mr. Skelos, proposing a meeting to discuss compliance with the commitment to an independent commission, but has not received a response. Other politicians say that when the Republicans were in the minority in the State senate, from 2009 through 2010, it was easy to make promises which would never have to be kept unless and until they won control of the Senate. They did win control in December 2010 when the last race, in Nassau County, was decided in favor of the Republican challenger over the Democratic incumbent, who had lost at the polls and appealed to the courts, which found no reason to interfere with the decision of the voters.
The United States Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 2) requires a census to be taken every ten years, and the Congress to be reapportioned pursuant to the results of the census. As a result of the 2010 census, New York State will lose two seats in Congress (going from 27 to 25 districts). Under the 1930 and ’40 censuses, New York held 45 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. In the following seventy years, the New York delegation shrank by 44 per cent. Since present trends in the movement of population to the south and west and away from the rust belt and blizzard states are expected to continue, it is reasonable to assume that New York will suffer a further loss of House seats in 2020 and the years beyond.
Within the state, the population loss came upstate rather than downstate (New York City and suburbs) so the northern seats should be vulnerable. In the 111th Congress, there were only three Republicans in the state’s 29-member delegation. In the 112th Congress, which has just begun its work, there are eight Republicans, following a turnover of four seats upstate and one on Staten Island.
It is the State Legislature that draws the lines of the new Congressional districts. Since the Senate is Republican and the Assembly Democratic, it is likely that the results will represent a compromise between the political leaders of both major parties. Governor Cuomo has stated that he will veto any redistricting legislation that does not contain a provision for an independent districting commission. It will require some twisting for the three men in a room to reach agreement.
If they do not agree, the state courts will eventually take over the redistricting process (unless federal laws are violated). The court will bring in independent experts to draw the lines, subject to judicial review and approval. Equitable and reasonable district boundaries are usually unacceptable to both political parties. After the rivals see what the court has done, the Republicans and Democrats scurry to make a deal to create or abolish districts so as to protect their favorites and discommode their known enemies, rivals or potential adversaries.
The leaders of the Assembly and the Senate can use their power of districting to reward or punish legislators who do not obey their instructions, or who demonstrate undue independence in voting and sponsoring legislation. The leaders also determine the legislative payroll; giving ordinary members more or fewer staff members, depending on their fidelity to the wishes of the powers that be. They also award member items, for local improvements and expenditures, again on the basis of political subservience rather than community need.
Once in place, speakers or majority leaders are extremely difficult to displace, and a failed attempt at a coup, which happened in the Assembly in 2000, can result in the political destruction of the plotters, and a period of exile for those aware of their intentions.
This political dance must be performed at the same time as the Legislature grapples with a $10 billion budget shortfall. The fact is that honest, impartial districting does not cost any more than gerrymandering, so the issues we discuss are not questions about money. They are, however, issues of power, and those are often more difficult to resolve than situations where people can simply be bought off, some quite cheaply as a matter of fact.StarQuest@NYCivic.org