The Texas A&M Aggies Symbol:  a Collie

One hundred
 miles and then some down the road, in a town just over one tenth our size, a municipal  official has done what no Austin pol dares to do.  In College Station, home of UT’s football archrival the Aggies, City Manager David Neely recently declared water fluoridation an unnecessary expense and called for an end to it.  Neely cited savings of $40,000 for the city during fiscal year 2012; he did not address any health issues.  Their city council will vote on adoption of the new budget September 22.

Here in Austin – where the powers that be think nothing of tossing out half a million for a runoff election to appease a disgruntled, decisively defeated City Council incumbent – the yearly $389,000 in fluoridation costs the Water Utility is willing to admit to would never cause a blink despite all the usual big city budget posturings.  Under a steady barrage of evidence as to the dangers and ineffectiveness of fluoride, our elected “representatives” twist slowly, slowly in the wind, sometimes rude, always evasive, avoiding our eyes and our questions. To quote the Austin Lounge Lizards wildly out of context:  “When will it ever end?”

Neely’s recommendation was covered in a local 
TV piece that did not even mention his name – though it invoked a local dentist, the American Dental Association and the US Public Health Service – and treated the community’s potential loss of “optimal” fluoridation as a looming disaster.  But we know who he is and we laud his courage in taking a stand so politically difficult yet so necessary.  We recommend that everyone bombard him with support by phone and email.  His contact information can be found here.  Also, get in touch with the College Station mayor and council members with the same message.      
I never thought I’d be cheering the Aggies.  But today I am.   


                                                      The late former Austin Mayor Roy Butler                                                         

Good afternoon, Mayor and Council members.  I


                                               Councilman Chris Riley
This coming Tuesday, August 9, the newly-reconstituted Committee on Public Health and Human Services will hold its first meeting since Chris Riley replaced Randi Shade alongside Mike Martinez and Laura Morrison.  It is natural to speculate on what he will bring to the table.

Riley has positioned himself as a green councilmember.  He voted against WTP4, pops up at environmental events, rides a bicycle for transportation as well as pleasure, and doesn’t even own a car. One would expect such an avid cyclist to be keen on health and wellness issues.  But not this one. 

Riley suffers from hypothyroidism, an underactive-thyroid condition he himself will bring up in conversation.  Hypothyroidism (which is skyrocketing in the U.S. today) is well known to be exacerbated by the presence of fluoride; indeed, fluoridated medication was at one time prescribed to treat overactive thyroid. He says he drinks unfiltered tapwater at home. Is it possible that after nearly three years of education by Fluoride Free Austin he hasn’t privately looked into this himself?

We can’t answer that.  What we do know is that he has thus far expressed no interest in bringing to public light any negative information about the fluorosilicic acid pumped into our water system daily.  If such  exists, he doesn’t want to know about it. 

In other words:  Don’t Look, Don’t Find.

His position appears to be that if one doesn’t know everything there is to know about a subject (symbolized by a university degree), one can’t possibly know anything at all about it, and it’s useless and presumptous to try.  He’s made it clear that he requires the permission of “mainstream” medicine and dentistry before he can sign off on removing the poison.  And what exactly is “mainstream?” That’s a story for another day.  

Here it is:                                                                                                                 


Largest Water Wholesaler in Southern California Sued for Illegal Use of an Unapproved Drug to Fulfill Fluoridation Program

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Alleging willful misrepresentation and deceptive business practices by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, attorneys for citizen/consumers from San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties filed a lawsuit in the public interest of millions of consumers in Southern California, citing that MWD of SoCal has made claims of safely and effectively treating and preventing dental disease in recipient consumers, while selecting and delivering a hydrofluosilicic acid drug through their water system that has never been approved for safety and effectiveness, nor in the expected dosages delivered by MWD through retail water districts, either topically, systemically through ingestion, or trans-dermal exposures through baths and showers.

In legal action which may impact the decision-making of water districts across the country employing the same practices, the lawsuit filed on August 9 in U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, addresses the Constitutional right of Plaintiffs to be free of bodily intrusion from a drug that has not been approved for MWD’s intent to alter the physical structure and bodily functions to make a person’s teeth more resistant to the demineralization process of tooth decay without their consent.

While some consumers may elect to purchase bottled water for drinking, virtually all consumers are captive to exposures from baths and showers, as simple filtration and most non-commercial methods do not remove the product, resulting in exposures to consumers similar to that of medications delivered by seasickness or nicotine patches.

“This case does not challenge the public policy of fluoridation,” states Kyle Nordrehaug, attorney for the Plaintiffs. “It does challenge MWD’s bait and switch tactics of orchestrating statements by them and their down-line distributors of water to individual consumers when MWD knew that the actual drug product that they deliver had never had a toxicological study performed on the health and behavioral effects of its continued use until 2010, much less approval for MWD’s perpetuation of absolute health claims.”

Despite early misrepresentations in the media, MWD of SoCal is not compelled to fluoridate its water by the State of California, and the costs of adding the unapproved drug are being borne by consumers in the form of rate hikes without water districts providing ratepayers clear notice of what the extra costs are for, or obtaining their consent.

The lawsuit’s filing clarifies that Congress has established that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the only government entity with the authority to approve claims of safety and effectiveness for products intended to treat and prevent disease, and that not only has the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency never had that authority, but in 1988 abandoned authority for safety standards for all direct water additives, including fluoridation chemicals.

While the Plaintiffs do not seek an award for any physical harm, they do point to evidence concerning safety/harm and effectiveness that by law and for consumers’ protection requires that the product be thoroughly evaluated, and approval given, for any claims and MWD’s intended health impact, before exposing consumers without their consent.

Plaintiffs point to MWD’s misrepresentations and omission of any notice of contraindications, government recognition of susceptible populations, and scientific evidence of disproportionate harm to children, Latinos, and African Americans, from the particular harmful side effects from the hydrofluosilicic acid drug selected by MWD, above other forms of fluoride.

“This lawsuit pushes past the rhetoric and reliance on unaccountable endorsements or opinions that usually accompany this subject, and focuses on whether MWD of SoCal adds hydrofluosilicic acid to public drinking water in order to treat or prevent dental disease, and whether FDA regulates products intended to treat disease, or not,” said Jeff Green, National Director of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water and spokesperson for the Plaintiffs.

“In essence,” continued Green, “the Plaintiffs are saying, ‘Don’t tell us, or the media, or the court how safe it is. Go tell it to the FDA through the evaluation process and get approval for the claims for the specific product you deliver, and don’t administer it to us topically, systemically through our ingestion, or through our skin from our baths and showers, without our consent until you do.'”


Jeff Green, Plaintiff Spokesperson

Citizens for Safe Drinking Water (800) 728-3833

Kyle Nordrehaug, Attorney

Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhomik

(858) 551-1223


Citizens for Safe Drinking Water

1010 University Avenue #52

San Diego, CA 92103

(800) 728-3833



Clarifying the key issues of Foli v. MWD of SoCal


Who is being sued?  Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the largest wholesaler of water in Southern California, servicing some 18 million consumers through retail water districts.


What are they being sued for? Deceptive business practices and infringements on consumers


Admittedly, we should have gotten to it sooner. . .we’re way overdue.  But better late than never. 
Quietly and without fanfare, the FluorideFreeAustin You Tube channel officially launched on Thursday August 4 with the upload of five new clips and an old favorite. There will be many more to come.

What took us so long?  Good question.  Pure inertia, perhaps.  For the past several years, we’ve enjoyed  outstanding support from other activists who have covered our work on their channels, including  Texans4AcctGovt, TheAlexJonesChannel, Lonestarpolitics and – in particular – the MikeHansenArchives  (owing to the energy and creativity of its Tubemaster, a term I just coined).  We owe every one of them a huge debt of gratitude. 

Their achievements have finally stirred us to efforts of our own.   There’s been some call, over time, for all our members’ 3-minute citizens communication talks  to be systematically gathered in one place. For, although all open city meetings are archived on the Channel 6 website, not everyone has the inclination to cull through long agendas to locate a few items of interest.  So – for the time being at least – our mission will be simply to collect the footage promptly, assemble the clips  (which, following a crash course in Stream Transport/Pazera/Windows Movie Maker, I’m now nominally qualified to do), and store them on the You Tube channel for posterity.  This audio-visual documentation will spare future generations the frustration of dealing with the City’s garbled transcripts and will also ensure that each clip carries the FluorideFreeAustin name.  We’ll also continue to gladly accept appropriate videos from others who might want to share them and, of course, make our own freely available to others to post.  It’s a win-win situation. 

And now, sit back and enjoy the show. 

                                                                  JULY 28, 2011                                     

                                       Philip Greene 7-28-2011                                   Rae Nadler-Olenick 7-28-2011

                                     Darcy Bloom 7-28-2011                                              Travis Tybor 7-28-2011 

                                                                       AUGUST 4, 2011

                                                                        John Bush, Exec. Dir.TAG  8-4-11



Good afternoon,  Mayor and council members.  Last May, Mosaic, the company that supplies the fluorosilicic acid Austin uses for water fluoridation, made a change to their Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for that chemical.  They added the following dire warning:  

“Prolonged or repeated overexposure to fluoride compounds may cause fluorosis.  Fluorosis is characterized by skeletal changes, consisting of osteosclerosis (hardening or abnormal density of bone) and osteomalacia (softening of bones) and by mottled discoloration of the enamel of teeth (if exposure occurs during enamel formation).  Symptoms may include bone and joint pain and limited range of motion.” 

We’ve been telling you this for the better part of three years, and now here it is, straight from the producer.        


In August, of last year, following a meeting we had with the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services director and his chief medical officer, the Austin Water Utility posted a weakly-worded warning – strictly limited to dental fluorosis in infants – on its website where no one will see it. 

In light of this compelling new development, we now demand a stronger warning to be placed on the Austin water utility bill where everyone will see it.  It should be worded as follows:  

“In January of 2011 the CDC lowered the maximum level of fluoride recommended for tap water from 1.2 ppm to 0.7 ppm*.  Austin currently fluoridates at 0.7 ppm.**  Prolonged or repeated overexposure to fluoride compounds may cause fluorosis.***  Fluorosis is characterized by skeletal changes, consisting of osteosclerosis and osteomalacia and by mottled discoloration of the enamel of teeth if exposure occurs during enamel formation of children and infants.

“If you are concerned about fluorosis in infants and in children, you can minimize exposure to fluoride by using non-fluoridated water for children and for reconstitution of infant formula.” 

We further demand a meaningful response from the Council regarding this matter within the next 30 days.  Thank you.

*    CDC,  Fluoridation Fact Sheet
**  City of Austin, Fluoride in Drinking Water
*** Mosaic’s MSDS Sheet for hydrofluosilicic acid, the Austin Water Utility’s fluoride source  




                       Shade                                                                                                                              Tovo

Time marches on.  Randi Shade is history.  Her successor, Kathie Tovo has been ensconced on the dias for over a month now.  The question is:  What next? 

It’s a  good question to ask.  Shade – flush with corporate funding and endorsements ranging from the Mayor to the police and firefighters’ unions (even aggressively “green” councilman Chris Riley supported her) – was considered a shoo-in to win despite her unpopularity with the general public.  Her defeat, so we hear, has reverberated through City Hall in a shakeup of Council aides that could conceivably work to our advantage.  That remains to be seen.

During citizens communication on June 23 Shade’s last day on the Council, Linda Greene engaged in a remarkable exchange with Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who, for the first time in memory, treated a Fluoride Free Austin member with a measure of respect.  Leffingwell suggested that our efforts would best be employed by gathering signatures to place the fluoridation issue on the ballot in a citizens’ initiative/referendum effort.  When Greene protested that the Council had a duty to act promptly to protect the public’s health, Mike Martinez, a member of the Public Health and Human Services Committee which has been studying the issue, unexpectedly stepped in to announce that he and fellow committee member Laura Morrison had discussed the possibility of bringing fluoridation to a public referendum by vote of the Council, thus sparing us the costly and arduous petition process. 


It seemed a triumphant moment for us.  However, a subsequent private meeting with Martinez revealed that he has neither the requisite four votes nor any interest in soliciting them.  He recommended we lobby  other City Council members for their support. Which of course we’ve been doing for the past two and a half years. 

Today, more than a month after Shade’s departure, her place as chair of the Public Health and Human Services Committee remains unfilled, while newcomer Tovo is apparently yet without assignments.  Mayor Leffingwell seems in no rush to replace Shade, whose name still appears in all her old positions on the City Clerk’s site here.  It will be interesting to see who will be sitting in Shade’s spot when the Committee next convenes on Tuesday, August 16, at 3:p.m. 

Although many consider Tovo an unknown quantity, she can be expected to hold many if not most of the same positions as Laura Morrison.  Both came to the Council through the same route:  leadership on the Austin Neighborhood Council.  Morrison’s current position on water fluoridation is equivocal:  it may have shifted since early 2009, when she informed a leader of Texans for Accountable Government that she didn’t have the “bandwidth” for the issue.  Things do sometimes change.  Meanwhile, we’ve given Tovo a copy of Dr. Paul Connett’s book The Case Against Fluoride and she has promised to read it.   

The saga continues.