What’s in our tap water?

By Celia Kiewit

Did you receive your New Year’s gift from the water district?   In January we will be getting fluoride in our tap water!   Great, it protects the children’s teeth from cavities.  Or does it?  I had one week’s worth of fluoride treatments when I was a kid and I have no cavities.  Why then are so many people in San Diego spitting mad about this?

San Diego city water is fluoridated despite the will of the people who, according to Municipal Code 67, banned any addition of fluoride to the water supply.  Check with your district and ask some questions.  Why is this happening?  Where is it coming from, and what is the actual chemical content?  Some people are objecting strongly, yet their politicians don’t seem to want to talk about it.  Some City Council members actually approve.

No vote was allowed.

Is this ever a good idea for protecting the teeth of young children? Maybe, but not on a long-term cumulative basis.  Fluoride, in the form delivered by the European “chemical distribution” company, Brenntag, is right up there with lead and mercury.  From our local water district’s website:  “Fluoride… discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories.”  Not exactly a pharmaceutical grade.   Chemical distribution?  Sounds like a euphemism to me.  More research needs to be done on these guys.  And yes, over-fertilization and pesticides add to the problem of polluted water and run-off.  What’s in the purple pipe?  How about “Toilet to Tap?”  Now there’s a great marketing slogan!  See the USA Today article dated 3/2011, “How we get tap water from sewage.”  Is the solution to pollution dilution?

Who cares what’s in the tap water when no one drinks it anyway?  Something like 80 million plastic bottles of water are consumed every day in the U.S. alone.   Designer water can cost 3 times that of a gallon of gasoline.

Plastic leaches into the contents and eventually infects the food supply.   Don’t get me started on my PET peeve.
The massive business of water delivery, sourcing, filtering, and charging us when sometimes we don’t really know what’s in it, where it comes from, nor can we really object is brilliant marketing and we are the captive consumers.   Be sure to see the film “Tapped,” which features Algalita’s Charlie Moore, an excellent documentary exposing the truth about water—stream, tap, and bottled.  Is it stolen and sold back to us?  “Whiskey is for drinking, and water is for fighting over,” said Mark Twain.  Yep, water wars are on the horizon as H2O is being dubbed the “new oil.”

This precious life-sustaining resource is too often taken for granted.  Some think it should cost more to reflect its true value.  On a half-acre organic garden and orchard, I use very little water thanks to a drip system and homemade cisterns.   Maybe we should mandate filtration systems in new homes and retrofit existing homes and businesses similar to the low-flush toilet laws, carbon monoxide monitors, etc.

Make no mistake, the municipal water supply cannot be allowed to deteriorate into a sewer, nor should it be manipulated by the powerful.  This public utility must remain just that, publicly accountable to the citizens.  When someone upstream is eliminating and someone downstream is drinking, standards must be maintained externally, come hell or high water!

Hydrofluorosilicic acid: Is this toxic waste and a carcinogen?  Is this a “bait and switch” whereby something that sounds like a good idea is really a toxic waste product that somebody upstream needs to get rid of?  I’d like some answers.

Celia Kiewit is an Encinitas resident.


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