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Letters to The Editor 

by Inlander Readers

Hard to Swallow -- When Seattle and Tacoma inhabitants turn on their faucets for a glass of water, they are swallowing much more than just plain water. They are drinking water contaminated with one of three fluoride compounds: hydrofluosilicic acid, which contains lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, radon.

The government publication, Water Fluoridation: A Manual for Engineers and Technicians, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports, "There are only three basic compounds commonly used for fluoridating drinking water supplies in the United States: sodium fluoride, sodium silicofluoride and hydrofluosilic acid." Sodium fluoride has been used as rat poison. Hydrofluosilicic acid is recovered pollution from the fertilizer industry. And sodium silicofluoride contains heavy metals and other pollutants.

Fluoridation proponents claim that adding just a small amount of fluoride -- one part per million -- to the public drinking water stops tooth decay. The truth is that even a mere 0.1 of a fluoride compound can cause dental fluorosis, which causes cavities. According to the DHHS' Review of Fluoride Benefits and Risks, dental fluorosis in the U.S. had increased to 22.3 percent by 1989 from 1 percent when fluoridation began in 1945.

If fluoridation proponents were right, by now, there would be no dentists, no dental decay, no false teeth and perfect smiles.

Tell your state senator and representatives to stop any attempt by legislators in 2003 to mandate fluoridation in Washington State.

Betty Fowler

Eastern Washington Rep., Safe Water Coalition for Washington State

Money Makes Might -- The guest commentary that ran in the January 16 edition of The Inlander, by Paul Rockwell ("MLK on War and Peace"), was both relevant for the times we live in and moving. It recalled Dr. Martin Luther King's addressing the Vietnam War.

Rockwell's added comments, however, were somewhat similar to bowel movements. We do " more for defense than all our potential adversaries combined." We cannot live 100 percent of the time with rainbows in our minds in the real world.

A Palestinian youth with $100 worth of explosives crossing the border into Israel cannot be stopped by $100 worth of defense; a million dollars of sophisticated equipment and a dozen highly trained defenders of freedom may or may not be enough to stop a zealot from getting into a nursery or on a bus and punching his ticket into his or her heaven.

We do spend an unbelievable amount to insure some degree of freedom for our people, but "our people" are anyone, anywhere in the world who want to remain free or feel free for the first time. Dr. King would have spent every dime he had just to make one person feel free.

Larry Connelly

Cusick, Wash.

Big House Blues -- Many of us are highly perturbed about gas-guzzling SUVs. Few, however, recognize that oversize single-family homes also use excessive amounts of precious resources such as natural gas, fuel oils and electricity.

Guidelines by utility companies for temperature settings provide comfortable living conditions for most of us, regardless of what climate we live in. There is, however, a significant difference in usage of utility resources for a 1,500-square-foot home than a 2,500-square-foot home, and hugely different usage in present day Taj Mahals over 5,000 square feet.

These folks pay for the usage at the same rate as the rest of us. It seems to me we should require them to also pay a surcharge based on what most of us consider excessive space. Most families live very comfortably in homes under 2,500 square feet; therefore, we should require a surcharge for waste of resources on larger accommodations, possibly directing those funds to projects assisting the poor such as Avista's Project Share or to our country's conservation efforts.

William H. Allison

Medical Lake, Wash.

Free the Innocent -- Former Illinois Governor George Ryan's commutation of 167 death sentences was heroic. The stroke of a pen has spared possibly innocent lives. However, a troubling question remains: How many innocent people are stranded in prison?

Considering that death penalty cases receive the highest legal protections, yet innocent people are sent to die, wouldn't it be true that there must be innocent people in prisons who are not on death row? The number must be higher than we think.

Sadly, innocent people will stay in prison -- with more on the way. Our Constitution has eroded so that now it's easy to convict people, yet tough to free them. As most exonerations today are based on DNA, blameless people languish in prison because their cases lack biological evidence. And disturbingly, courts are appeased with exiling people -- even for life -- simply because they are not going to kill them, despite how unfair the judicial process have been.

Sure, most prisoners are guilty and deserve punishment. But if we cannot trust the highest standards to take life, how can we trust lower standards to take liberty? By allowing this, we tell the world that sending the innocent to prison, where they may be raped, beaten or worse, is an acceptable price for catching the guilty.

P.J. Jones

Nine Mile Falls, Wash.

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