Wednesday, November 16, 2011

To fluoridate, someday, and a personal announcement

Previous post dilemmaized over whether and how to fluoridate at my next Water District Board meeting, which was yesterday. Here's the news:

Santa Clara Valley Water District OKs adding fluoride to its drinking water

Silicon Valley's largest drinking water provider took the first steps Tuesday toward adding fluoride to the drinking water in most of Santa Clara County, including San Jose, the largest city in the nation without the cavity-battling additive.

After a lively 90-minute debate at a packed meeting, the board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District voted 7-0 to put the district on record supporting fluoridation.

It could've been 6-1 because of a side issue where I disagreed with my colleagues about creating yet another Board committee to oversee this, but they were willing to split up the vote so I could agree with them on the main issue and then get shot down over the new committee.

If you're so inclined, you can listen to a couple minutes of my comments while looking at uninteresting shot of the board room below (source link here):

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I made clear that I wanted public education on infant formula and on reverse osmosis for those who don't want fluoride, and that we keep checking in on the scientific consensus. I think I'll win that fight. When we'll do this and who will pay for it is less clear. I think it's a legitimate expenditure of public funds, but we're not a public health agency. If they want Water District money to fix people's teeth, my vote would be that they have to wait a while. We need to fix our seismic risks at our dams, restore the environment, and reduce flood damages.

So there ends my fluoride series for this blog. My personal announcement is that after nearly nine years at my day job with the Committee for Green Foothills, I gave notice that it's time for me to do something else, starting in January. It's a great place, but it's time for me to do something new. I am very interested in climate change policy work, but am open to other ideas as well. I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen next.


EliRabett said...

Eli noted over at Curry's that you did things in the right order, first you learned about the subject. Well done. Hopefully some (obviously not all) of the feedback you got at RR helped.

Aaron said...

Not a public health agency?

I submit that clean water is THE single most important aspect of public health. Followed by sewage treatment and clean air. No, wait!, in an era of AGW, perhaps clean air (low CO2) should be first on the list.

PK said...

Fluoridation causes a doubling of liver cancer in animal and human studies, ... is too costly, can cause double the rate of bone cancers, especially in children , and can harm people with thyroid conditions.
The high rates of cavities and root canals that low-income children in and around San Jose suffer is directly related to a diet lacking calcium & too much fluoride.
Fluoride is a known brain toxin. Rich people will avoid tap water by drinking bottled water.
See the facts:

Brian said...

Thanks Eli - which thread? Maybe I should dive back into the comment wars, I've been hanging back in the last few months. There was some interesting stuff in the comments to my post, but I learned the most from the hand-to-hand combat in the comments to Coby's original post.

Aaron - point taken, but the public still expects us to be a "special" district of limited function, not a general public welfare agency.

PK - I'm looking for consensus positions on the science. I'm not going to choose between dueling experts.

aaaaa said...

"Rich people will avoid tap water by drinking bottled water."

In plastic bottles in which the toxic plastic leaches into the water

water is poisonous- drink beer!

Hank Roberts said...

Call for Articles - Fordham Environmental Law Review

In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the Fordham Environmental Law Review plans to publish an issue devoted to water. They have issued a call for papers, with a deadline of December 15, 2011....

very1silent said...

FYI the San Jose Mercury has published an article on your quitting the Committee for Green Foothills:

Recovering in the Florida Keys said...

I love the way they need committees to select committees. They do that here all the time with the same five committee members taking turns chairing.

If you get into the climate change thing, might I suggest go a tad heavy on the land use, general airbourne pollutants and water shed side of things :)

very1silent said...

More local coverage in the Palo Alto Weekly:

Brian Schmidt said...

Thanks very1. It's almost like a job ad, except for the discussion about conflicts of interest that might be distracting. I wrote about that here:

Anonymous said...


Came over here to Buffett Run, uh I mean Rabbet Run to read the latest about how Warren wants all the rich to pay more taxes, except his company of course. Hilarious.

Celery Eater

J Bowers said...

Maybe Buffett wants the taxes to be paid for the right reasons, not illegal ones made up by the IRS. You do see the distinction, right? Maybe you'd agree that the IRS could send a demand for unpaid Using Your Own Washing Machine On a Sunday taxes?

Anonymous said...

What does it matter Bowers, the paid taxes end up in the same place and he says the rich need to pay more, except him of course, that my friends tells the whole story.

Celery Eater