BRADENTON – The subject of whether adding hydrofluosilicic acid to water is safe and/or effective has been a raging debate for decades. In his newest film, The Great Culling, filmmaker Paul Wittenberger looks at what is actually being added to the water, how well controlled the dosage is, and whether or not the evidence supports such administration. The journey eventually takes him across the gypsum stack lined landscape of central Florida, where it turns out much of what makes it into American water supplies originates.
Gary Pittman wrote the book Toxic Torts, regarding his exposure to toxic substances while working for Occidental Chemical Corporation's north Florida phosphoric acid operations. In the movie, Pittman takes Wittenberger behind the scenes of the phosphate industry and details multiple health problems he's attributed to his time with Occidental.
The filmmaker pieces together dozens of interviews from experts who feel that adding the unstable, poisonous, corrosive acid to water is having permanent and damaging effects on public health and human development, while failing to provide the promised dental benefits, for which fluoride ingestion is not FDA approved.
The fluoride opponents include doctors, chemists and other activists who point out that other developed countries like Austria, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Hungary, China and the Netherlands have either banned the additive or never used it at all. Adding sodium fluoride to municipal water supplies became popular in the 1950's after it was discovered that cases of fluorosis were occurring in extraordinarily high numbers in areas of the United States that had naturally-high fluoride levels in their drinking water.
Aside from the pitted, discolored teeth, the children in these communities also had less cavities. Commercial interests set about finding a lower level of fluoride that might promote healthier teeth without the side effects. At the time, sodium fluoride from the aluminum industry was the primary source of additives. Today, hydrofluosilicic acid, a toxic by-product of the phosphate mining industry, accounts for most of what is added to drinking supplies.
About 70 percent of Americans receive added hydrofluosilicic acid in their water, though in recent years, many municipalities have done away with it, arguing that flouride supplementation, which today is cheap and easily available with fluoridated toothpaste routinely selling for as little as $1 per tube, should be left to the individual.
In addition to concerns on health and effectiveness, there is the cost. Municipalities, including Manatee County, routinely spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on hydrofluosilicic acid to add to the water supply. While many opponents are averse to the idea of forcing the consumption of any medication without informed consent, others simply see it as a waste of money, or the public subsidy of big businesses who can sell, rather than pay to properly dispose of a known toxin. The full movie is available for free on Youtube (see embedded played below).
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