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Issue Home August 8, 2007 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

A Successful Relay

Ron’s Team, a participant in the Susquehanna County American Cancer Society’s “Relay For Life” would like to thank friends, colleagues and sponsors for helping us complete a successful relay that will hopefully help others who are fighting cancer. A special thanks to Jake Lee who provided music for Ron’s Team.

We walked in honor of Ron Rowe who fought a courageous battle against esophageal cancer, and also in remembrance of others.


Sue Rowe

Team Captain

Never Would Happen In Industry

Last week I attended the county Rail Authority Meeting that was a real eye opener of the differences between politics and industry. At stake for Susquehanna County is $700,000 in grant money for purchasing land needed for a load/unload rail siding. The county stands to lose this money due to a big conflict between the commissioners, along with our economic development representatives, and the Rail Authority. The problem boils down to a lack of satisfaction over how the Rail Authority operates.

My dear friends, these types of disputes were common occurrences during my 33-year tenure in industry. However, in industry, there would be a gathering of all concerned parties, and the meeting would not be over until the problem was solved and an action plan put in place to recoup the $700,000.

Wouldn’t it be great for the taxpayers if the county could be operated as a business instead of politics? Just imagine how different our lives and taxes could be?


Tom Jurista

Silver Lake Township

The Atomic Bomb And The Fluoride War

In 1939 a simple letter written by a not-so-simple man was to mold our moment in history almost as much as the Bible. It was written by Albert Einstein to President Roosevelt. "This new phenomenon [atomic fission]," wrote Einstein, "would lead . . . [to] extremely powerful bombs." When Japan attacked the United States in 1941, that was exactly what the United States needed – "extremely powerful bomb[s]."

To manufacture these atomic weapons, fluorine (elemental form) was needed. The DuPont chemical factory in New Jersey was contracted to produce millions of pounds of this highly toxic element. But downwind from the factory, a mysterious blight killed the trees, crippled the cattle, and sickened the farmers.

The cause was traced to poisonous fumes released from the DuPont factory. The farmers, not wanting to interfere with the war effort, waited until war's end before filing lawsuits claiming damages caused by air-borne fluoride (molecular form) from the DuPont plant.

But by then another war had started, the Cold War. Once again, lawsuits were seen as a threat to national security. General Leslie Groves, representing the U.S. Army, commissioned the University of Rochester to find evidence useful to refute fluoride's deleterious health effects. The stage was set: the Fluoride War had begun.

Taking a cue from the fact that calcium fluoride – a naturally-occurring mineral in water – was loosely associated with the prevention of dental caries, the University of Rochester initiated Project F, a study to determine the health effects of fluoride in drinking water.

As part of Project F, Grand Rapids, Michigan was chosen in 1945 as the first city to have its water injected with sodium fluoride, an industrial waste product. But make no mistake, this was never about children's teeth. It was about furnishing ammunition with which the government and its contractors could shoot down lawsuits. After 10 years the results were assayed. To no one's surprise, General Groves got his ammunition.

Currently, about 1 part per million (ppm) of fluoride is added to 66 percent of the municipal water systems in the U.S., serving some 170 million consumers. According to the Environment Protection Agency, this is a safe amount – or is it? The German Association of Gas and Water Experts says that "1 ppm is close to the dose at which long-term damage [to the body] is to be expected."

Soon fluoride found its way into toothpaste at concentrations of 1,500 ppm. The warning label on the package should give one pause for thought: "If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately." However, the label does not inform one that the oral mucosa is an efficient absorber of food and chemicals.

Other products followed: oral rinses (920 ppm), gels (12,300 ppm); and supplements in the form of lozenges, tablets, and, liquids (concentrations vary from 0.25 to 1 ppm). So how much fluoride does the typical American consume? Adding all the sources – water, food, air, fluoride products, and pesticides that contain fluoride – the average person absorbs 6.65 mg per day. This greatly exceeds the level known to cause serious defects in teeth and bones. Problems started to surface.

The unexpected nature of these problems, how they effect each and every one of us, the surprising results of the largest fluoridation study ever undertaken, and the European viewpoint concerning fluoridation will be discussed in a forthcoming letter, The Fluoride War.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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