Paper’s bottled water story is drink for thought

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To the editor,

Your article about the Park Slope Food Co-op’s proposed ban on bottled water (“H-2-Whoa!” March 8) states that New York City tap water is “generally better” than bottled water. This is only true if you ignore the fact that New York City water contains chlorine, fluoride, and, here in Park Slope, very possibly lead. And the Associated Press has reported that our tap water contains trace concentrations of heart medicine, infection fighters, estrogen, anti-convulsants, a mood stabilizer and a tranquilizer.

The proponents of banning bottled water at the Co-op have argued that you can buy a filter. Chlorine is easy to filter out. Fluoride is much harder. Now, some may argue that ingesting fluoride is good for you, but there is no shortage of Web sites pointing out the lack of benefits and the toxicity of fluoride compounds.

Wikipedia lists seven countries in Europe, plus Japan, that fluoridated their water and then stopped. People who have decided to avoid fluoride are not going to change their minds. And fluoride filters — which start at $159 — aren’t feasible for renters.

People wanting to see bottled water banned will argue that there is waste in the packaging. If this is their primary concern then a lot can be done without banning water. To start, the Co-op could sell water only in gallon sizes or larger.

Ironically, the Co-op currently sells many products with excessive packaging — the most egregious example is Glass Plus. The Co-op does not sell refills, so customers find themselves throwing away perfectly good sprayers.

People who want to avoid city water are not going to start drinking it if the Co-op bans bottled water. They will instead buy it elsewhere.

Don Wiss, Park Slope

Saints marching in

Your story about the ongoing protests at the Green Church (“Jazzy funeral for a church,” Bay Ridge edition and online, March 8) reminded me of the famous quote from the Vietnam era: “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

It’s a shame nothing can be done to save a beautiful church and a historic piece of Bay Ridge. I’m sure the corner of Ovington and Fourth avenues will look great with another Fedders coop or con–do.

How is it possible that that church was never landmarked? That’s a shame for everyone in the neighborhood.

Paul A. Toomey, Bay Ridge

Don’t ‘PAVE’ PS 15

To the editor,

Red Hook’s PS 15 an example of what a good public school can do (“Parents win: Education Department agrees not to add charter school to Red Hook’s PS 15,” Downtown edition and online, Feb. 23).

The school was on the mayor’s list of most improved schools. The current principal is pro-active. The combination of a dedicated staff, a strong PTA and an involved community, has made the school a good example of how, without any gimmicks, a good public school can work.

The city arbitrarily decided to house the charter school PAVE at PS 15. The charter school would capitalize on the good foundation that had been laid by the teachers, principals, PTA, the community and the parents. It would skim off the cream of the students and force the school to have larger classes per teacher.

The city is only partly to blame. Although charter schools existed in the 1960s, they have now become a hallmark of Republican administrations in an overall effort to privatize the public institutions including the schools as much as possible.

Both former Mayor Giuliani and the current mayor adhere to this “market fundamenta­list” credo that boils down to “privatizat­ion.”

If left unchecked they would privatize the water supply (which already happened in some townships in Maine).

In California, where they have more experience with charter schools, studies failed to show any significant improvement in charter schools.

In general, charter schools drain funds from the public school budget and siphon it to private companies; are not truly accountable to the public; are selective and often steal the best students; are actually under-funded because they receive only 80 percent as much funding per student as regular public schools.

That’s why I am opposed to the charter school at PS 15.

Paul van Linden Tol, Red Hook

• • •

To the editor,

We’d like to keep our local public school free of charter school leeches, thanks.

Privatization in education is the worst enemy of democracy that exists. The Department of Education needs another overhaul, too.

Emily Brown, Red Hook


To the editor,

Your front-page story about bars that offer babysitting (“‘Sitting’ at the bar,” March 8) highlighted a very nice service.

Yes, people should always remember that they were once children, but it is nice once in a while to just eat a hot meal without hearing, “Mommy, mommy, mommy” all the time.

P.S. The prices aren’t that bad, either.

Theresa Monforte, Bay Ridge

Gersh’s Nader nadir

To the editor,

I was very disappointed to see Gersh Kuntzman had resorted to Nader-bashing in his most recent column (“Nothing for Nader; This time, donors won’t give a dime,” The Brooklyn Angle, March 8).

Nader-bashing is this election year’s easiest sport.

But it’s unfair: The Democrats, hugging the middle of the road with the fervor of baby lemurs, have suddenly discovered “change.”

Well, Ralph Nader has been talking — and effecting — change since the Year of the Pinto. Just ask yourselves: When it comes to real change, who’s the chump and who’s the champ?

Lehman Weichselbaum, DUMBO

‘Toll’ for thee?

To the editor,

In reviewing the plans of the up-market project the Toll Brothers wish for the Gowanus area (“Revolt against this ‘Toll,’” March 8), I have the following questions:

1) How many of the working poor — store and supermarket clerks, auto mechanics, nurses aides, etc. — will ultimately be displaced by the long-term effects of this project?

2) When does the city plan to upgrade the area’s water and sewer systems?

3) When will Con Edison upgrade the electrical network?

4) When will Verizon upgrade the communication systems?

5) When will the city finally repair the flushing system for the Gowanus Canal?

6) Where will the children of the project’s residents go to school?

7) Where will the residents of this project shop and how will they get there?

8) If the city is trying to discourage the use of automobiles, why does this project include 260 parking spaces?

Bob Ohlerking, Park Slope

Smartmom’s toys

To the editor,

I loved Smartmom’s recent column on the new sex shop in Park Slope (“Grown-ups need their toys, too!” March 8), but I wonder if she has ever explored the wonders of a dildo attached to a Milwaukee 15-amp cordless drill.

Patrick Bateman, Manhattan

Editor’s note: This is not the first time we’ve heard this question. And while we confess our own curiosity about Smartmom’s proclivities, we would ask you to write directly to Smartmom through her Web site, “Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.”

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

nyscof from NY says:
In a statement first released August 9, 2007, 1,600 professionals now urge Congress to stop water fluoridation until Congressional hearings are conducted. They cite new scientific evidence that fluoridation, long promoted to fight tooth decay, is ineffective and has serious health risks. (

Signers include a Nobel Prize winner, three members of the prestigious 2006 National Research Council (NRC) panel that reported on fluoride’s toxicology, two officers in the Union representing professionals at EPA headquarters, the President of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, and hundreds of medical, dental, academic, scientific and environmental professionals, worldwide.

Signer Dr. Arvid Carlsson, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Medicine, says, “Fluoridation is against all principles of modern pharmacology. It's really obsolete.”

An Online Action Petition to Congress in support of the Professionals' Statement is available on FAN's web site, .

“The NRC report dramatically changed scientific understanding of fluoride's health risks," says Paul Connett, PhD, Executive Director, Fluoride Action Network. "Government officials who continue to promote fluoridation must testify under oath as to why they are ignoring the powerful evidence of harm in the NRC report,” he added.

The Professionals’ Statement also references:

-- The new American Dental Association policy recommending infant formula NOT be prepared with fluoridated water.
-- The CDC’s concession that the predominant benefit of fluoride is topical not systemic.
-- CDC data showing that dental fluorosis, caused by fluoride over-exposure, now impacts one third of American children.
-- Major research indicating little difference in decay rates between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities.
-- A Harvard study indicating a possible link between fluoridation and bone cancer.
-- The silicofluoride chemicals used for fluoridation are contaminated industrial waste and have never been FDA- approved for human ingestion.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a DC watchdog, revealed that a Harvard professor concealed the fluoridation/bone cancer connection for three years. EWG President Ken Cook states, “It is time for the US to recognize that fluoridation has serious risks that far outweigh any minor benefits, and unlike many other environmental issues, it's as easy to end as turning off a valve at the water plant.”

Further, researchers reporting in the Oct 6 2007 British Medical Journal indicate that fluoridation, touted as a safe cavity preventive, never was proven safe or effective and may be unethical. (1)

In New York State, Cobeskill stopped 54 years of fluoridation in 2007, the Central Bridge Water District stopped fluoridation in 2006, Homer in 2005, Canton in 2003. Oneida rejected fluoridation in 2002. Ithaca rejected fluoridation in 2002. Johnstown rejected it in 1999. Before that several towns in Nassau County stopped fluoridation. Suffolk County rejected fluoridation in the 1990's.

On October 2, 2007 Juneau Alaska voters rejected fluoridation despite the American Dental Association's $150,000 political campaign to return fluoride into the water supply after the legislative body voted it out.

Many communities rejected or stopped fluoridation over the years. See:

SOURCE: Fluoride Action Network http://www.FluorideAction.Net


(1) “Adding fluoride to water supplies,” British Medical Journal, KK Cheng, Iain Chalmers, Trevor A. Sheldon, October 6, 2007
March 13, 2008, 8:44 pm

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