Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Brushing, flossing trump fluoridation of water

Reverse decay of common sense | March 18 editorial

Brushing trumps fluoridation

I'm not a tea party enthusiast, a conspiracy theorist or a member of any other organized group opposed to fluoridation of our public water supply. I hold a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and also hold a healthy (pun intended) respect for the human body's ability to thrive in an era of junk-food nutrition, prescription drug overuse, environmental toxins and stresses of living in an overstimulated culture.

There are simple, inexpensive ways to avoid poor dental health, such as simply brushing with baking soda, which removes food particles and neutralizes the enamel-destroying acids formed by bacteria after eating food, especially high-sugar items like soda and candy, and flossing. How about adding teeth brushing twice daily at elementary schools to educate children about responsible dental care?

Mandating an unnecessary treatment of public water is a slippery slope; what other chemicals might be added to treat obesity, smoking and other easily preventable conditions? How about a full-page article supporting the addition of daily vitamins to our water supply in the name of public health? Probably not.

Charlotte Downey, Gulfport

Reverse decay of common sense

Don't force-feed us

Elimination of tooth decay is not the real issue here. Adding fluoride to drinking water constitutes the forced delivery of medication to the entire population. The growing demand for home water filters is evidence of our citizens' desire to eliminate chlorine and fluorine from their drinking water. Even the American Dental Association strongly advises against fluoride exposure for babies. Yet some pediatricians continue to prescribe fluoride pills for young children, who are then at greater risk for overexposure to this highly toxic element that causes dental fluorosis in over 30 percent of children.

The National Research Council and the Fluorine Action Network have valuable research data for people interested in another point of view.

Elizabeth Wardrum, St. Petersburg

Fluoridated beer?

I can't understand the obsession with putting an unnatural chemical in our drinking water. Of the 6,000 gallons a month the average household uses, I'd guess that less than a couple of gallons is actually ingested. So probably 99 percent of that fluoride-treated water goes down the drain in my bathtub, washing machine and toilet. Very little spends time embracing the enamel on my teeth.

As you point out, the government started adding fluoride to water supplies in the 1940s. Obviously it didn't help prevent my many memorable and painful trips to the dentist during my youth. I have a mouth full of fillings. Fluoride was simply a by-product of our growing chemical industry looking for a market.

If fluoride is so wonderful, then perhaps the government should mandate it be added to all bottled water, milk, beer and soft drinks — the fluids that we actually drink. Let's pass out fluoride-containing toothpaste instead and encourage brushing. That's what prevents cavities.

Curt Wasko, Palm Harbor

Argument doesn't add up

You cite a 25 percent reduction in tooth decay by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Oral Health, but then from the same source the statistic that 40 percent of children between 12 and 15 have dental fluorosis.

So the benefit is 25 percent and the risk is more than 40 percent?

You again cite the CDC and write that most of the cases are mild cases of dental fluorosis. Whew. How much of that "most" is mild? What, they don't have figures for you to nosh on? Yet you advocate that our water should be fluoridated because the science is overwhelming.

Basic math escapes you.

If I required more logic and "common sense" like this, I'd watch Fox news. I'm canceling my subscription.

Christina Arasmo Beymer, Largo

An evening to remember | March 19 op-ed

Reason for invite is obvious

"How did you make the list?" Really! You don't know? Could it be that the Tampa Bay Times is sympathetic to the Obama administration? Could it be because your own PolitiFact project finds three false statements by Republicans for every one false statement by Democrats? That's according to a study by the Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs. My guess is that Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh weren't invited.

Florida is an important election state, particularly Central Florida. The Times is a friend of the Obama administration and that is why you were invited. President Barack Obama wants your paper to keep presenting political news that favors him over the GOP opponent. That is why you made the list.

Shawn Ryan, Tampa

Here, not there, nowhere? March 18 Charles Kenny column

TB knows no borders

Despite Charles Kenny's claim of a silver lining to America's disengagement with other countries, we cannot persist in an insular cocoon. The number of jobs in Florida dependent on international trade nearly doubled in the past two decades. And with international travel for business and pleasure so frequent and accessible, physical health becomes just as important as economic health.

One-third of the world's population carries the TB bacterium, and TB is the largest killer of people with AIDS. Florida is a particularly vulnerable state because we are a gateway of entry for many immigrants and foreign visitors. Just last month 150 students and others at USF had to be tested when one was suspected of carrying the disease.

Saturday is World TB Day. Take some time to learn about the importance of the fight to eradicate this public health threat.

Linda Schatz, Tampa

Dangling bait for a bad deal March 15 editorial

Help existing businesses

Instead of giving away $15 million of taxpayer money and incentives for yet another big-box retailer that will suck away sales from already struggling local businesses as well as create little in the way of quality jobs, may I suggest a grant to existing Hillsborough businesses. I would suggest $10,000 to 1,500 businesses that can demonstrate the need for improvements, working capital and other expenses.

Let's take care of our own who are struggling right now and think of all the money that would stay in the community by doing this.

Jeffrey Francis, St. Petersburg


Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18