The Environmental Protection Agency is about to decide on a petition submitted by Dr. William Hirzy to change the source of fluoride in U.S. drinking water this month (August 2013) according to an article entitled Arsenic in Drinking Water: Costly Change Could Lower Levels. According to Dr. Hirzy, “The study and petition grew out of what researchers believe is a lack of regulation and understanding of chemicals used in fluoridation. Fluorosilicic acid has been shown to contain the carcinogens arsenic and lead, and to leach lead from water pipes.” Dr. Hirzy added: “It has been found that fluorosilicic acid is often contaminated with arsenic, and recent research has linked the arsenic from fluorosilicic acid in drinking water to as many as 1,800 extra cases of cancer yearly in the United States.”
A recent peer reviewed study, using EPA risk and cost data, shows that the fluoridation chemical, hydrofluorosilicic acid, contains enough arsenic to be causing U.S. society to spend at least $1 billion per year treating lung and bladder cancer caused by the resulting added arsenic in fluoridated drinking water. If this stuff gets out into the air, it’s a pollutant; if it gets into the river, it’s a pollutant; if it gets into the lake, it’s a pollutant; but if it goes right straight into your drinking water system, it’s not a pollutant. That’s amazing! ~J. William Hirzy, Ph.D. – Chemist-In-Residence | American University | Employed by the Environmental Protection Agency for 27 years
This petition asks the EPA to require changes from fluorosilicic acid to the use of pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride in water fluoridation. Fluorosilicic acid is a substance commonly derived from the pollution scrubbing devices of the superphosphate fertilizer production industry. It is pathogenic to plants so has to be removed as part of the production process. It is classified as a hazardous waste, is highly toxic, and is the choice of substance used in 90% of the water fluoridation programs in the United States.
Saving Billions in Cancer Costs
Published in February 2013 in the journal Environmental Science and Policy, Hirzy and his co-authors estimated that putting pharmaceutical-grade sodium fluoride into the water supply would reduce the amount of arsenic, a known human carcinogen and cause of cancer, in drinking water by 99 percent.
“The switch would cost $100 million, but would save BILLIONS in reduced cancer costs. We found that the United States as a society is spending – conservatively speaking – $1 billion to $6 billion treating the excess bladder and lung cancers caused by arsenic in the most commonly used fluoridation chemical, fluorosilicic acid,” Hirzy said.
Hirzy said that the researchers, in calculating the number of U.S. cancer cases yearly linked with arsenic in fluorosilicic acid, used the EPA’s own risk assessment data.
Experts Agree. “I think this is a reasonable study, and that they haven’t inflated anything,” said Kathleen Thiessen, a senior scientist at SENES Oak Ridge Inc., a health and environmental risk assessment company. An EPA scientist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the press, said the study is the first to perform a risk assessment on this arsenic source, which “should have been done” already. He said he “didn’t dispute anything” in the paper, and said the cost estimates were reasonable. While the EPA performs risk assessments for most contaminants in public water supplies, it doesn’t oversee the addition of chemicals used in fluoridation, according to the agency — a policy that Hirzy said doesn’t make sense. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the EPA has the authority to regulate or ban almost any substance — including fluorosilicic acid — that poses an “unreasonable risk” to public health, he said. (1)
Fluorosilicic Acid – Known Carcinogen
According to Dr. Hirzy: “Fluoridation was introduced in 1945, and the early tests of its effects were done with sodium fluoride, largely derived from the aluminum smelting industry.”. Fluorosilicic acid was first used to fluoridate water supplies after 1951, when water fluoridation became a goal of the U.S. Public Health Service. According to a report released in 2006 on fluoride by the National Research Council, health effects of fluorosilicicacid have not been widely tested. Mosaic, one of the companies that sells fluorosilicic acid to water utilities around the country lists the substance as hightly corrosive. The undiluted acid can actually eat through glass. It is becoming increasingly common for U.S. water departments to purchase their fluoride chemicals from China. While little appears to be known about the source of these chemicals, previous incidents indicate that the contents of these chemicals can vary quite dramatically
Any increase in exposure to arsenic leads to an increase in the risk and incidence of cancers, Hirzy said.
The purity of fluoridation chemicals is regulated by NSF International, and the American National Standards Institute, according to the study. Under a regulation called the NSF/ANSI Standard 60, fluoridation chemicals are not permitted to create arsenic levels above 1 ppb in drinking water, the study noted. However, there’s reason to believe this standard isn’t being enforced, Hirzy said. For example, arsenic levels in Wellington, Fla., recently exceeded this limit, and nothing was done in response to the violation, according to the study.
Hirzy added: “Nobody is watching the store.”
(1) Information from article on LiveScience.com. http://www.livescience.com/38478-fluoridation-cancer-costs.html