An Ideal Environmental Solution
Fluoride is generated by aluminum, steel, fertilizer factories, coal burning power plants and in the production of glass and cement. Gaseous fluoride and other process waste byproducts have previously been allowed to be expelled through the factory smokestack New environmental regulation now require "scrubbers" atop of smokestacks to remove these toxic chemicals from escaping in the air.
In the past, little attention was paid to the emission of gaseous fluorine compounds in the fertilizer industry. But today fluorine recovery is increasingly necessary because of stringent environmental restrictions which demand drastic reductions in the quantities of volatile and toxic fluorine compounds emitted in the waste gases. These compounds now have to be recovered and converted into harmless by-products for disposal or, more desirably, into marketable products."
-Fluorine Recovery in the Fertilizer Industry, by H. Denzinger, H. Konig & G. Kruger,
Phosphorus & Posassium Magazine, Sept/Oct 1979
These industries would have to pay dearly to dispose of their fluoride if they could not sell it to municipalities for adding to tap water.
"In other words," says William Hirzy, a Senior EPA scientist, "fluoride that otherwise would be an air and water pollutant is no longer a pollutant as long as it's poured into your reservoir. The solution to pollution is dilution and in this case, the dilution is your drinking water."
In 1983 Rebecca Hammer, the Deputy Assistant administrator in EPA's Office of Drinking Water, called fluoridation "an ideal environmental solution to a long standing problem."
The fluoride compounds used for water fluoridation are trapped by "scrubbers" in the smokestack of factories like the one pictured above.
Cargill fertilizer plant at Hillsborough Bay Florida (July 22,1991)
Tampa Tribune photograph by Skip O'Rouke