City of Seward, Health

Council member’s anti-fluoride ordinance’s introduction postponed

 By Heidi Zemach for SCN

Rissie Casagranda, a city council member up for re-election October 2, is again trying to take a stand against fluoridation and other potential additives to our city water supply. She’s eager to pass an ordinance on the issue in case she’s not re-elected, as she is probably the most outspoken opponent of public water fluoridation on the council. But, it seems her time for that may have run out. Her ordinance, 2012-009, establishing criteria for substances added to public drinking water for purposes unrelated to potability, was postponed by the council Monday night until September 24th. It was postponed to allow the city administration to look over the various implications of the ordinance, rather than just its legality, and make a recommendation. The delay also was to allow the council to have a work session on the issue, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on the same evening.
Normally, postponements come after ordinances are introduced, often after public hearings are held, which are part of the process of their being enacted. But this time, despite Casagranda’s pleas not to do so, the council cut it off at an earlier stage, saying neither they, nor the administration, had had enough time to study the proposed changes. City Manager Jim Hunt said he received the ordinance on Thursday afternoon prior to Monday night’s meeting.
The ordinance proposes more than two pages of additions to the Seward City Code, with sections related to a manufacturer’s of additives’ accountability, transparency/disclosure, compliance with Alaska Law, conformance with industry standards, violations and severability.
Casagranda says that the 50 producers of fluoride for public water systems, who have been contacted with a questionnaire, had refused to respond. The questionnaire asked them to name exactly what substances the manufacturers use in their product, and to guarantee that that these chemicals are safe for everyone in the population, including babies and young children. They also want the manufacturers to provide all of the studies done on their chemicals, and currently underway, in order to prove that they are safe. The American Medical Association itself now says that fluoride is unsafe for infants, Casagranda said.
As it happened, Dr. John French, an environmental toxicologist who was called by former Seward City Managers Phillip Oates to testify about the fluoridation debate when last it arose in Seward years ago, was in the council audience to speak about the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council, which meets here later this month.


“I’m very, very disappointed to see this ordinance come forward, and I’m certain that this public hearing will be very, very contentious,” French warned. “This ordinance appears to be a lot of half-truths hidden behind a lot of smoke and mirrors.” He reiterated an argument he had made at former council debates. “Things are never completely safe. Nothing is not toxic at some level. What is not poison is but a matter of degree,” he said.
Maya Moriarty, local dentist Mike Moriarty’s wife and dental employee who helped spearhead the Seward Wellness for All’s committee that proposed city fluoridation a few years ago, also spoke up.
For the council to consider the ordinance at this time was putting the cart before the horse, she said. “Council hasn’t voted on water fluoridation because you have not yet heard about the costs,” she said. “Why vote on something so technical when you haven’t voted yet on whether you would implement it?”
When last the council considered fluoridating the city water, they agreed to postpone action until they could learn more about its cost and applicability to the Seward water distribution system, which was in the process of being rebuilt, with a new, large water tank replacing aging smaller ones. To date they have not heard back from the construction engineers as the tank has yet to be built.
Among the claims Casagranda’s ordinance makes to argue for the need for the ordinance: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency no longer has oversight responsibilities for direct water additives, there are no federal safety standards, and the voluntary industry self-regulation standard, known as NSI/NSF Standard 6, adopted by Alaska, is administrated by a non-governmental body with no direct responsibility to health agencies or consumers, the ordinance states. It also claims that public policy discussions are underway about the potential for adding lithium to the public water to alter human mood imbalances and reduce suicides, and statin drugs to reduce cholesterol.
Matt Hershock, a citizen, business owner who spoke in favor of the ordinance put it this way: “Why would someone put something in the water without knowing the ingredients? It just blows my mind!”



  1. Fluoridation: good enough for Germany as proposed by their Chancellor in the 1930s, good enough for Seward in 2012.

    …all for the children, of course.

  2. Germany does not fluoridate its drinking water. In fact Europe has rejected it and is 97% fluoride free.

    The city council should demand from the chemical supplier one scientific study to show that the fluoride chemical(Hexafluorosilicic acid, an industrial toxic waste product)is shown to be safe and effective. Of course they can’t produce one, so that would be the perfect reason to reject this outdated practice.

  3. Why would anyone take some of the best water in the world and put fluoride in it? If your so worried about having it for yourself, go get a bottle of water and put it in your own! That way the people who don”t want it can just have a drink of WATER and not some doctored up crap. Everytime I watch the city council meetings on this matter it pisses me off. I’m pretty sure the people that have lived here their whole life will agree there’s obviously members in this community who have their hands down some of our politicians pants so they will ramrod this fluoride deal through for them. I have lived here 42 years unlike a lot of theses clowns who say they are “FOR THE PEOPLE”. Twist it up how ever you want to make it sound like a great deal, the reality of it is not so great at all… about we keep water…water and go ahead and buy your fluoride for yourself if you think its so great. Thanks but no thanks! Someone needs to take responsibility for making MY water something other than JUST WATER.

  4. I would like to see the article retitiled “Council member Casagranda…”

    She is an elected official.

  5. A great chance to save a life!

    Providence Seward Mountain Haven is hosting a community blood drive on Monday September 24th at the Seward Mountain Haven Commons building. If you would like to donate, please contact Brittany Swanson at Seward Mountain Haven at 224-2988 (please leave message and your call will be returned to schedule your appointment) or email
    The blood drive will run from 7:00am-2:00pm. You MUST have an appointment in order to donate, there are no walk-in appointments.

    The LIFEmobile is not expected to return to Seward until spring 2013 so please sign up to donate! here is another way to help….

  6. My post was not right, why don’t we all donate to sewards pantry to help others. winter is coming and sometimes people need alittle help. you can give what you want, but, i am sure a can of goods or what not will be not missed from your shelves. show compassion to others. that is what makes the world go around. everyone pull together please. lets worry about more inportant things.

  7. James A. Krasnansky

    My concern is with excessive amounts of DHMO in our water. DHMO has been found in cancer cells!

    • lol!

      • For those unfamiliar with Mr Krasnansky’s Dihydrogen monoxide comment (as was I)….

        Dihydrogen monoxide hoax
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        “Dihydrogen monoxide” redirects here. For the H2O molecule, see Properties of water.

        Water consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.
        In the dihydrogen monoxide hoax, water is referred to by an unfamiliar name, “dihydrogen monoxide”, followed by a listing of real effects of this chemical, in an attempt to convince people that it should be regulated, labeled as hazardous, or banned. The hoax is intended to illustrate how the lack of scientific literacy and an exaggerated analysis can lead to misplaced fears.[1] “Dihydrogen monoxide”, shortened to “DHMO”, is a name for water that is consistent with basic rules of chemical nomenclature,[2] but is not among the names published by IUPAC[3] and is almost never used.
        A popular version of the hoax was created by Eric Lechner, Lars Norpchen and Matthew Kaufman, housemates while attending University of California, Santa Cruz in 1990,[4] revised by Craig Jackson (also a UC Santa Cruz student) in 1994,[5] and brought to widespread public attention in 1997 when Nathan Zohner, a 14-year-old student, gathered petitions to ban “DHMO” as the basis of his science project, titled “How Gullible Are We?”.[6]
        “Dihydrogen monoxide” may sound dangerous to those with a limited knowledge of chemistry or who hold to an ideal of a “chemical-free” life (chemophobia).[6] The only familiar common usage of the term “monoxide” is in the highly toxic gas “carbon monoxide”, and the simplified term “monoxide poisoning” is commonly used to refer to poisoning by this colourless and odorless substance.[7]
        The joke has been frequently extended over the years. For example, a material safety data sheet—a list of information about potentially dangerous materials used in research and industry—has been created for it.[8]

        Just a note concerning the “Normalcy of introduction of ordinances” the other ordinance for introduction was also not introduced until the council could have a work session.

  8. James A. Krasnansky

    Thanks, Marianna. ;^)

  9. Yeah, thanks Marianna ;0). What does this have to do with the proceeding article?

  10. Rissie..ask Pam She seems to be able to find multiple associations to article.

  11. How come whenever this issue arises (over and over and over…) there are two sides of the issue. There is the ENTIRE public health community (AMA, ADA, PHS, IHS, every local healthcare provider) is in support of flouridation and has peer reviewed studies, journal articles, and documented facts to support their conclusions, while there are lots of ‘internet’ groups and ‘citizen scientists’ who have read something or know someone who thinks that flouride is toxic waste, will cause cancer, or will turn our kids communist?

    Just the other day the Portland City Council voted unanimously to flouridate the water system there. ( ) This means that just about every large city in America cares enough about their residents to provide them with this effective, safe, and proven system to improve their overall health and wellbeing for the rest of their lives by reducing cavities (largely in poor children).

    Why must we re-hash this issue over and over and over again. What part of safe and effective do people not understand. Rissie and Matt are great parents, great citizens, and good people. I like and respect them both. However, no disrespect intended, I will continue to get my health care information from my doctors, my dentist, and the public health community.

    • Yes, as always, ‘we must do it for the children’.

      And if I contrast your comment, to a comment from ‘jwillie6’ earlier in the thread:

      Can I conclude that the reason 97% of the EU has rejected flouridation is due to the fact that it’s citizens don’t love their children, their poor, and especially their poor children?

      Or is it that the folks in the EU are less educated and enlightened?

      Or, regardless of their high standard of living/quality of life, perhaps they just have lousy medical and dental schools?

      Maybe they just need NPR, would that help them?

    • The earth being flat and the sun revolving around the earth used to be facts too. Science changes its theories more often than most people change their underwear.

  12. Dave, you can get your health care from your provider and i’ll get mine from mine. I would never try to force you to take medicine you did not want, or make you adopt my doctors’ philosophy. Some people prefer to get drugs for their cholesterol problems and some prefer to change their lifestyle. My dentist in anchorage does not believe in fluoride and that is why I CHOOSE to give him my business. If these companies would simply send the requested information back to us and we could see that the ingredients were safe, the treatment proven effective, the law being followed, and that they adhere to government standards we could all move forward on the same page.

    • Absolutely agree! If the city wants to spend money to “protect” our children and community – don’t put it in the water, put it in the sidewalks and streets. Funny how most of the health care community that supports this live out side city limits and get their water from a well……just sayin.

  13. I find this comment interesting, “Things are never completely safe. Nothing is not toxic at some level. What is not poison is but a matter of degree,” Then why take the risk? There is an election coming up, if you are against the fluoridation of our water be sure to get out and vote. Marianna Keil and Jean Bardarson are in favor of fluoridation and they are up for re election. There will be other to people to vote for. Come to the work session on monday the 24th and let them know.

  14. Here is a message for council….I DO NOT WANT FLORIDE IN MY WATER! If you want it, then get your doctor to give you a prescription for it. Good grief.

  15. I do not want flouride in my water either. I want the library open on Sundays.

    Just Saying.

  16. Water fluoridation is a business like any other – it is established, the manufacturers are large diversified conglomerates in many cases, they have lobbyists, supply chains, sales reps, etc – in short, there is a bottom-line.

    There is serious money to be made even in a small town such as this.

    The fluoridation industry also has decades of experience successfully inserting it’s product into communities against the will of the citizens.

    Public relations contracted by these firms have spent a great deal of time formulating strategies to accomplish this on behalf of their client organizations.

    A typical tactic for these entities is to find sympathetic community ‘leaders’ to provide the soft face for the hard sell.

    Another tactic often used in the implementation phase is to ridicule, ‘make-fun of’, and marginalize citizens who express otherwise valid concerns.

    If you are against the measure of fluoridation, and are being made to feel the idiot, you aren’t – it’s a tactic.

    Stand your ground if it’s what you believe-in.

  17. ~in a small town...

    The very thing Seward’s water lacks isn’t necessarily the
    flavorful taste of fantastic fluoride, but what we’d really
    need would be that crisp chemistry of chlorinated water.

    Nothing like getting hit in the face with the hard taste
    of chlorine first thing in the morning, or after being
    out in the weather and coming indoors very thirsty
    with desires to quench that urge with flavorless drink.
    Calorie-free, fragrance-free, etc & freer the betterer.

    Before fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash were common
    many small Alaska and other rural states found their kids
    and adult tooth decay rates were extreme. Not sure what
    the statistics are for AK village people, since the amount
    of sugar products shipped to the Bush is high per capita.

    And those persons hocking food samples in larger urban
    stores are doing nobody any favors, since they do not
    offer a discount dental plan in addition to these treats.

    I’m not buying it. Fluoride isn’t the devil. And I want to
    see (via hidden cameras) every visiting tourist’s facial
    expression as they drink Chlorinated Seward water.
    Let them fell at home & ‘American’ as they visit here.
    Clear water hasn’t helped them pollute Alaska less.

    ~in a small town…
    kenai mountains, alaska

    • ~in a small town...

      {I’m trying to figure out how odd typos got into my post
      & why that post wasn’t correctly placed after older ones.}

      Oh well. 🙂

  18. Lucky for you “in a small town” (if that is your real name), we have chlorinated water in Seward. And thanks to certain members of this council we also have hidden cameras.

  19. FWIW. (For What It’s Worth)

    I think there is a now a revised broad based understanding of the fluoride issue by the seated members of the Council. I believe that only Jean Bardason is an advocate for fluoridation. The mayor’s position seems to vary but he’s not running for re-election this time. Even so, letting him know directly your opposition might be a good idea.

    The Council is in a difficult position procedurally. They were initially sold a packaged bill of goods that most now realize was not scientifically/medically complete nor a reflection of community feeling about the issue. See post by Kiel above for the reasons they (and the electorate) were duped. The majority of the seated Council I suspect are waiting for the cost estimates to be presented to them an intend to oppose the addition of fluoride at that time.

    It’s important to remember how Mr. Oates and a dedicated group of True Believers finessed this issue through Council and the community and then stacked the deck setting up an “advisory” vote before the community (or Council) was fully informed. Now that more information is known it leaves the Council ( and the community) in the unenviable position of un-doing something they already did.

    At this point, rather than rehashing all the well-known pros and cons of the issue I think directly pressuring the Mayor by communicating to him your opposition and keeping the pressure on the seated Council will succeed in stopping fluoride being added to Seward’s water. With all due respect to the new candidates, at this point I think the devils that we know are better than the ones we don’t.

    The only Council member we KNOW supports fluoridation is Ms Bardason. She apparently has her reasons for supporting it. I think everyone else is now opposed and are just looking for political and legal justification to NOT support it.

    If one is convinced that we should use the upcoming election to voice opposition to this issue, my opinion is the best anti-fluoridation election strategy is to focus on the one Council Member who vigorously supports it – Jean Bardason. If memory serves she is the one who introduced the issue to Council to begin with and it was the troika of Oates, Dunham, and Bardason together with the alleged “Wellness” Dental sub-Committe that brought the dog and pony “information” show to the original conversation.

    As I am on public record as stating: The whole business stinks. How this came up to begin with, how this was “voted” and “approved” and now the confusion surrounding what to do to stop it all smell to high hell. I believe we need to focus our energy and re-elect Rissie and Marianna and express our dis-satisfaction with fluoride directly to the people who inserted this unwelcome conversational topic and expense into an already contentious public agenda clogged with other more pressing budgetary concerns.

    Particularly with an inexperienced Mayor, we need an experienced Council to deal with the challenges ahead. Whether or not Ms Bardason brings other skills to the table that redeems her position on fluoride is for individual voters to decided.

    I believe Marianna has done and will do the right thing. Rissie clearly has lead the charge against it. Talk to the Mayor and other Council members to make sure they know what you believe they should do but I believe you’re preaching to the choir with the above stated exception.

    • Well said Ron.

      And, ‘finessed’ is the correct word to use to describe how this issued has been moved.

      It is standard practice to use procedural techniques along with a cadre of so called ‘experts’, and a local or two (all of whom usually have a direct or indirect interest beyond ‘helping the children’) – to move controversial motions to vote, while a public, who is otherwise distracted with the daily activities of work and raising a family, is not prepared to consider the matter in a thoughtful way with ALL of the information.

      If the community has all the information on the table, beyond outside ringers here to sing the company sales-pitch while flying under the label of ‘scientists’, then so be it – put fluoride in the water.

      But to use manipulative techniques to marginalize decent citizens who express valid concerns, to justify all under the guise of emotional appeals, and to use procedural tactics to ram through important and questionable motions speaks of deceit.

      This wouldn’t be the first community to have backed-out of a deal after a slick, practiced, and choreographed sales pitch, but it has been done.

    • I agree. But (theres that but) Ms Bardarson has brought a lot to the table and has done a great job on council and stepping up to the plate when our current mayor has not. At least you know where she stands and working in the dental field truly believes it is good for the community. I do not support flouridation but I do support Jean.

    • To see and hear facts I encourage everyone to mark the date on thier calendar’s!!!! Work session, Monday September 24th at 5:30PM. Motion will also be up for introduction in the following council meeting, same day at 7pm. Bring your snacks, bring your questions. Let’s get the FACTS!

      ~I am so excited~


  20. So I assume that there will be chemists, Doctors, Dentists, and environmental scientists at the work session to discuss the peer reviewed science related to Community-Wide water floridation- or will there just be a bunch of people who read something on the internet?