Letters to editor
Sound Consumer | September 2003
Letters must be kept to 250 words or less and include a name, address and daytime phone number for verification or they cannot be published. We reserve the right to edit for space, clarity and accuracy. Please e-mail letters to
In general I think the Sound Consumer does a great job providing useful, unbiased information on controversial topics. However, I was dismayed when I read the front page "Fluoride Update" in the August issue. This article is devoid of any factual information on the advantages or disadvantages of fluoridation; instead it is brimming with polemics and insinuation showing the author's obvious bias in this matter.
For example, the article notes that fluoride is a toxic by-product of the fertilizer industry and used in A-bomb production. How is this relevant? This is such a transparent attempt at manipulating the reader that I don't understand how it got past the editor.
Articles like these undermine the good reputation that Sound Consumer has established. Please continue to publish informative, objective articles and leave the propaganda to others.
— Patrick Mann (three-year member)
Editor: I'm grateful to Patrick for opening an e-mail dialogue on this controversial topic. It provides opportunity to point out that PCC is in the business of letting consumers know what's in their food (and water) and where it comes from. Thank you, Patrick, for sharing your views.
Bravo to PCC and Kay Neth for presenting a "both-sides-of-the-story" article about fluoridation. It's a volatile issue to be sure, and while I fall on the "anti" side, it's primarily for a reason not really mentioned in the article. Very simply put, fluoride as an additive to water is a medication to (supposedly) prevent dental caries.
And just as simply, the point must be made that our community water supplies should never, ever, be used as a vehicle to deliver a prescription medication to the general public.
There are plenty of other substances that could be advantageous to the public — how about adding vitamins to municipal water? We could add vitamin C and zinc during the winter months to protect against cold and flu season, or vitamin B during the major holidays for an added boost during those stressful weeks. And gosh, we could really get a jump on SARS protection if we added echinacea and goldenseal to the public water supply.
Do you see how absolutely ludicrous this sounds? (And these are over the counter supplements, not a highly toxic prescription medication!) Why is fluoridation any different? Our pure water supply should remain just that.
Yes, chlorine is added to make it safe to drink, but unlike fluoride, chlorine can be filtered out easily. Our community water should never, under any circumstances, be used to medicate the general public — whether it's deemed "good for you" or not. Ever. I applaud you for the idea of taking on controversial subjects, and while one would hope that alerting the PCC membership to the concerns about fluoridation would be the proverbial "preaching-to-the-choir" situation, I also think that this is one of those issues where the general public has been completely brainwashed.
A lot of people simply aren't aware how incredibly toxic this chemical is (and "spills" or accidental overdoses into the water systems are not unheard of) and how unnecessary it is in our water. There are a LOT of other sources and ones that aren't a toxic by-product of the chemical industry. I myself drink an awful lot of tea — an excellent source of fluoride!
And I am especially glad this article appeared when it did, due to the issue coming to a head in my own neighborhood — the Sammamish plateau. I was heavily involved with defeating the fluoridation proposition on our local ballots in 1990, and now that growth has overtaken our water supply, the solution is to pipe in Seattle water — already fluoridated and chlorinated.
There is a small group of us fighting this "solution," though I don't know if we have any hope. We've even discussed bringing the topic to the Seattle city council if/when our water is blended with the Seattle supply. Thanks for the timely boost of awareness you gave us!
— Maureen C. Finn
Editor: The Food and Drug Administration requires a warning on the "Drug Facts" panel of fluoridated toothpastes because fluoride is so toxic, it should not be ingested. The claimed benefits as an anti-caries preventive comes from bathing the teeth in fluoride, not swallowing it. Parents are advised to call poison control if their children swallow fluoridated toothpaste.
Water: a clearer perspective
I enjoyed reading Cameron Woodworth's article on water in your last issue of Sound Consumer. I would like to have an electronic copy to use with the students I teach about conservation and stewardship. Would this be possible?
— Peter Donaldson, Mercer Island
Note: Articles from Sound Consumer always can be downloaded from our Web site, HERE (or in the navigation bar on the left). Or, from our home page, click on the Resources tab and then Sound Consumer Archives in the left column.
After reading the June article on reusing plastic water bottles, I remembered an article I read in the May/June 2003 issue of Natural Home, one of the many fine magazines PCC carries. In this issue there is an article called "Graduate from Plastic." It addresses where and how we use plastic in everyday living. It also offers advice on how to make plastic less harmful and offers alternatives to using plastic. There is also a chart which lists types of plastic, household use, components, byproducts and environmental/health impact. I was amazed at how much plastic comes into our lives that we never think about.
If your local library doesn't carry Natural Home, you can order a back issue at www.naturalhomemagazine.com. It's a great magazine, even if you live in apartment like me. Thank you for carrying it.
— Virginia Southas
Island Spring history
Thank you for your informative story on the PCC Farmland Fund. The board member, Luke Lukoskie, whose suggestion planted the seed for this wonderful program certainly deserves recognition. However, the story mentions that Lukoski went on to found Island Spring Inc., one of the first organic tofu companies in the nation. All this is essentially true, but he actually co-founded the company with me, and we contributed equal resources to start the company in a utility shed on my Vashon Island property. Thank you for correcting the record.
— Sylvia Wieland Nogaki
Middle school view
I am writing to tell you my opinion about organic food and how I think it is better for you than non-organic food. I would like to start by talking about how organic food is better for you because it's not grown with all the chemicals that non-organic food is grown with that are dangerous and harmful to not only the people who are eating the food, but also the environment and the people who grow the food — the people who put many hours of labor a day so we can have something good looking, good smelling and good tasting to eat.
I think that the workers shouldn't have to work at such a dangerous job. Also, the environment is in danger. Every chemical we put into the ground is harming our earth that we should be taking care of instead of ruining. Thank you taking your time to read this.
— Julianna Sackeyfio, Eckstein Middle School student
Taking B vitamins
A letter from Jo MacMillan in the March Sound Consumer about the value of B vitamins was great advice ... to which I'll add: Take them before bedtime. They are water soluble, so they'll be active in your system longer overnight (and put some liveliness in your step in the morning.)
— John Browne, Vashon Island
Dr. Sheila Dunn-Merritt: I'm glad John feels benefit from taking his multi-B vitamins before bedtime. However, if you're taking B6 alone, it should be taken in the morning with food, as taking it on an empty stomach can cause nausea. Also, when taken later in the day or at bedtime, some people report having nightmares. And since B6 is a natural diuretic, it is best taken in the early part of the day.