Fluoride foes aren't `wackos'

COLUMNIST Lee Quarnstrom's allegation that fluoride opponents are racist (Page 1B, Feb. 15, Santa Cruz/Monterey edition) deserves loud and vigorous condemnation. The allegation is sheer demagoguery.

Quarnstrom fails to acknowledge that there is legitimate scientific evidence correlating fluoride consumption with harmful health effects. Many people in Santa Cruz and elsewhere are sincerely concerned about these health risks. Is that racist?

Quarnstrom calls the opponents ``wackos,'' ``obsessed,'' ``right-wing activists,'' ``lefties,'' ``little old ladies in tennis shoes'' and ``youngsters who step off their crudely painted psychedelic buses and light up cigarettes.'' I am none of those things. I am a middle-aged lawyer, a homeowner, and a parent, but I confess that I care passionately about the health of my family and myself. There are many serious, well-educated professionals like myself who oppose fluoridation of the public water supply on the basis that it constitutes forced medication with potential health risks, such as cancer, and questionable dental benefits.

If you assume fluoride is ``beneficial'' and then leap to the conclusion that it should be added to the public water supply, one might ask: Wouldn't vitamin C added to the public water supply be beneficial (reducing the frequency of colds and flu)? Wouldn't Prozac added to the public water supply be beneficial (helping us deal with stress)? Where do you draw the line?

Each individual should have the right to decide which and how much, if any, medications to consume. When fluoride is added to the public water supply, that choice is taken away. This is not the same as chlorine or other substances added to the water to make the water itself safe to use.

And please, Mr. Quarnstrom, spare us your ridiculous ``advice'' to buy bottled water if we don't want to be forced to drink fluoridated water. There is no way of knowing how much fluoride is contained in a purchased bottle of water. And how can low-income minority folks afford to buy bottled water? Isn't that advice racist?

Jeff Alford
Santa Cruz

The Bias Is Out There

  Why did METRO SANTA CRuz assign the fluoride story ("The Tooth Is Out There," Feb. 24) to biased John Yewell? His emo- tions stained your excellent news report- ing reputation. Yewell's knifing, slash- ing and seething remarks only served to illustrate how pro-fluoridationists can- not remain neutral even if a job descrip- tion requires it.
  Dentists employed to look in mouths for dental studies do taint and bend the data as John Yewell has done. Only blind studies can be accurate; they indicate no difference in tooth decay between fluori- dated and nonfluoridated communities.
Machelle Cramer, Santa Cruz
Fluoride Fascists

 Thank you for finally acknowledging the passage of Measure N and its prohibition against adding fluoride or any other medications to our drinking water. Your Nuz item ("Fluoride Redux," April 28), being two months after the fact and its continuing treatment of our local election as just one minor obstacle to be overcome on more our way to state-enforced, METRO SANTA CRUZ-endorsed mass medication truly qualifies you as the alternative news source in a community where your competitors covered the election in a more timely and equitable manner.

  While our margin of victory was sliin indeed, it was just enough to stop the fluoride fascists from using our water system to dispose of their toxic waste products courtesy of Cargill Fertilizer and our tax dollars.

  They can beat on their chests and threaten us all they want, but the truth is they will have to first fight us in court and prove two things: one, "that state law supersedes local law," which is highly unlikely since Santa Cruz, as a charter city, has ultimate control over regulating its own resources, like water, and two, thanks to our carefully crafted prohibition, that fluoridation is indeed safe and effective for all, a major obstacle that will most likely stop them in their tracks.

  Of course, before they even take us to court, our Health Service overseers are going to have to find the money to do if. Given that they've come up with only 10 percent of the dollars needed to fluoridate the cities that are willing to swallow state mandates, no questions asked, and given the number of cities and water districts that would also have to be sued because they have followed the lead of Santa Cruz voters in rejecting fluoridation (Helix, La Mesa, El Cajon, Escondido, Riverview, Lakeside), or already have their own fluoridation prohibitions in place (San Diego, Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill, Redwood Valley, Suison City, Los Altos Hills, Davis), it's very likely that we won't be meeting them in court anytime soon, if ever!

  By the way, if your staff ever decides to do any balanced reporting on the issue of fluoridation, we encourage you to talk with the Measure N proponents-you know, the ones who won the election. We also have some doctors, dentists and health bureaucrats who will give you some nifty quotes on why Measure N's victory really does count.
Theodora Kerry, Santa Cruz