Debate over fluoridation of Meadville water continues

Greinke delivers talk opposing additive

Retired Chemist Ron Greinke delivered a talk on concerns with adding fluoride to local water systems on Saturday, April 8, at the Vernon Township Municipal Building.

Greinke’s talk, sponsored by the activist group Clean Water Meadville, examined scientific literature on the effects of adding fluoride in water. Greinke said that despite what many people believe, the addition of fluoride into a local water supply is actually harmful for people’s health.

“The benefits of fluoride are exaggerated, and the risks are downplayed,” Greinke said.

Seventy percent of communities in the United States add fluoride to their water, mainly in the form of hexafluorosilicic acid, according to Greinke’s talk. However, on a worldwide scale, very few countries follow this practice. Meadville currently does not add fluoride to its water, but the Meadville Water Board is considering implementing it. Allegheny College gets its water from the local network overseen by the Meadville Water Board.

Greinke said that the science justifying the use of fluoride in water is outdated and of questionable validity. He discussed recent reviews of literature that showed that the frequency of dental problems in communities with and without fluoridated water systems was so close as to be statistically insignificant. Additionally, Greinke said that recent studies suggest fluoride is a developmental neurotoxin that can contribute to diabetes, ADHD and lower IQ. Greinke said that while proponents of fluoride suggest it is a mineral with positive health benefits, hexafluorosilicic acid does not meet the scientific criteria for being considered a mineral.

“This is not a mineral,” Greinke said. “It’s not solid or natural.”

Greinke said that as a chemist, his experience with fluoride compounds such as hexafluorosilicic acid has shown that these chemicals are highly volatile. He said he has been forced to take special precautions with these sorts of chemicals, including using an antidote after working with some of them.

“What else do I know?” Greinke said. “This chemical will dissolve cement. This chemical will dissolve glass.”

Greinke said that fluoride was used in the 1930s to treat thyroid inflammation and is a potent enzyme inhibitor. These factors, plus the fact that fluoride is added to water for medical reasons, mean that it can be considered to be a medicinal drug. As a medicine, its use in water may violate the Nuremberg Accords, which state that it is illegal for anyone to administer medicine to an individual without that individual’s informed consent.

Terri Amato attended the talk with her husband, John Amato. While John felt concerned about fluoridation violating the doctrine of informed consent, Terri Amato found the effect of fluoride on ADHD to be very important.

“I’m a schoolteacher, so the ADHD talk really hit home,” Terri Amato said.

Christopher Knapp, the founder of Clean Water Meadville, said that he started the organization back in 2013 when the issue of fluoridation came up. For him, the attendance at the talk was just as significant as the message.

“My biggest takeaway was that there was no member of the water board,” Knapp said. “They’re the ones making the decision. Are they not interested in educating themselves? Does this mean that their minds are made up?”

It is not confirmed whether or not any members of the Meadville Area Water Authority were in attendance.