California Assemblymember wants fluoridation chemicals tested

June 19, 2001

name & address deleted
Mountain View, CA 94040

Dear David:

Thank you for supporting my bill, which required that fluoride-releasing compounds be tested and approved for safety and effectiveness by government agencies before they are dumped into our drinking water.

Before a fluoride releasing compound could be added to a public water supply, AB 1565 would have required the California Department of Health Services to certify that the compound had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The bill also required the Department to certify that the fluoride compound did not contain, at its maximum allowable level, a concentration exceeding the public health goal set by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

It appalls me that the nine-member Assembly Environmental Quality and Toxic Materials Committee killed AB 1565 on a 0-5 vote. Not one member of the Committee voted for this important bill! Five "yes" votes are needed to win approval from the nine-member Committee. "Not voting" has the same effect as voting "no".

The following members voted against AB 1565:

Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson (D), Chairwoman Assemblyman Mike Briggs (R) Vice Chairman Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn (D) Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal (D) Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin (D)

The following members chose not to vote:

Assemblyman John Longville (D)

Assemblyman Ken Maddox (R)
Assemblyman Anthony Pescetti (R)
Assemblyman Carl Washington (D)

It is disturbing that government has allowed water agencies to dump an unapproved chemical into our water. Fluoride tablets require a doctor's prescription. Dentists warn us to not swallow when they treat our teeth with fluoride. Fluoridated toothpaste tubes warn us to not swallow. Did you know that a doctor following the recommendations of the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics is unable to prescribe any more fluoride than is found in a single cup of fluoridated water to children under three? Yet, somehow government has closed its eyes to testing hydrofluosilicic acid and silicofluorides before they dump them in our water. This is irresponsible!

Dr. J. William Hirzy, on behalf of the National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 280, representing toxicologists, chemists and other scientists at the U.S. EPA headquarters, told the Committee, "The chemical used in 90% of the fluoridation systems in the United States, and is likely to be used in most of the systems in California, is hydrofluosilicic acid or its sodium salts. There simply has not been adequate testing of that material. Roughly 140 million people are exposed to this stuff every day."

"You have the combination of both large exposure, substantial indication that there may be toxic effects of this stuff, and that no adequate testing has been done," Dr. Hirzy testified.

Dr. Myron Coplan, co-author of two studies that found elevated lead levels in the blood of 280,000 children in Massachusetts and 151,000 children in New York, also testified in support of AB 1565. The Masters and Coplan studies showed a doubling of lead poisoning when silicofluoride or hydrofluosilicic acid is present in drinking water.

We have seen our drinking water contaminated by MTBE because government refused, and continues to refuse, to ban its use in gasoline. Now we are seeing government-sanctioned dumping of fluoride into our drinking water without testing.

If you wish to contact those who did not support AB 1565, you can write them at the following address: Assemblymember (insert name), State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. You may also wish to write a letter to the Editor of your local newspaper.

There is a world-wide consensus in the public health community that chemicals should be adeauately tested if large numbers of citizens are, or will be, exposed to them and if there is a reason to believe that the chemicals may pose unreasonable risk.

Although AB 1565 was defeated, my resolve to continue this fight to protect Californians from harmful chemicals is alive and well. I hope you, and the more than 1,500 other Californians who supported my bill, will continue to educate elected officials and your friends, neighbors, co-workers and others about fluoride. We may have lost a small battle, but the war is far from over.

Again thank you.


Member of the Assembly
59th District