A Republican group in Kansas wants Topeka city officials to remove fluoride from the city's drinking water in order to preserve the intelligence of legislators in the state's capital.
Citing concerns about the chemical's impact on IQ, the Kansas Republican Assembly, a conservative group that has campaigned against fluoridation, is sending a letter to Topeka's top leaders urging that the city's fluoride pipe be shut off during the annual legislative session. A draft of the letter and the minutes of the group's January meeting where the proposal was made surfaced on the KRA's website in recent days.
The minutes read:
After hearing the fluoride update, Brian Coss made a motion for the KRA Secretary to write a tactful letter to each Topeka City Council member, Topeka’s City Manager, and Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten, asking that the fluoride valve be turned off during the legislative session to protect our legislators from potential loss of I.Q. and other negative side effects of fluoride while in Topeka. In addition to our legislators and the many others who go to Topeka during the session, Topeka residents would also benefit from the move, and the city could save a lot of money. Eric Henderson seconded the motion, and after some discussion, the 33 members present approved the motion unanimously.
Mark Gietzen, the president of the KRA, told The Huffington Post that a study from the Harvard University School of Public Health released last year confirmed the group's fears about the impacts of fluoride. The Harvard study said that children exposed to flouride had lower IQs than those not exposed to it. The report was based on studies conducted on children in China.
"They are finding that it's doing damage to children’s brains and lowering IQ," Gietzen told HuffPost. "It is probably having the same effects on adults.”
Critics of the Harvard report at the time pointed to other studies that show fluoride has no long-term impact on children's intelligence.
Still, the KRA has made fluoridation a key issue. Last year, the group was active in a successful campaign to defeat a referendum in Wichita to add fluoride to the city's drinking water. The group has drafted a resolution for state legislators to call on local governments in the state to remove fluoride from the water supply.
Fluoride is often added to drinking water to help fight tooth decay. Gietzen told HuffPost that while fluoride has benefits for teeth, those should be obtained through the use of the ingredient in toothpaste, not through drinking water. He pointed to toothpaste packages that warn consumers not to swallow the product. In addition to the chemical's alleged affects on IQ, Gietzen said he and his colleagues count brittle bones and prostate issues among their health concerns about fluoridation.
“Lowering IQ is a terrible thing to do to a population," Gietzen said. "I can’t believe I am alone in it being an urgent thing to take care of.”
He is currently working with officials in Lawrence and Salina in an effort to remove fluoride from the drinking water in those cities.
Topeka Councilman Chad Manspeaker told HuffPost that he has not yet received a letter from the KRA regarding fluoride and its alleged impact on legislators. He did say that he questions the group's decision to use scientific research in its current proposal, considering issues previously advocated by the KRA were not based in science.
Manspeaker, a leader in Kansas's liberal Democratic wing, does not believe legislators should be concerned about the effects of fluoride in Topeka's drinking water, nor is he concerned about the impact of the chemical on intelligence. But he suggested, jokingly, that the conservative KRA may disagree.
“They would likely point to me as a argument for why the water is bad," Manspeaker said, "but I’ve been drinking it my whole life and I’m fine."