PO Box 2276, Lynnwood, Washington  98036-2276
Telephone 425-771-1110, Fax 425-776-8081

February 15, 2013

Seattle Times

Letters to the Editor

PO Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111
Sent by fax to: 206-464-2261

Sent by email to: jbalter@seattletimes.com; kriley@seattletimes.com; opinion@seattletimes.com; letters@seattletimes.com;

To the Editor:

It is odd that in the 21st century we are still making bullets out of lead. (See “Gun range under fire over lead exposure”, 2-14-2013.)There are alternatives. Shooters should follow the Army’s lead and switch to lead-free “green bullets”.

There is much more to the lead story. From the 1920s into the 1970s our air was poisoned by tetraethyl added to gasoline. Tetraethyl lead was replaced with ethanol, which does just as good a job of stopping knocking. But a loophole was carved out for aviation gas, commonly known as Avgas. Many propeller driven planes still burn avgas, and they spew lead down on as they fly overhead. Most piston driven planes can be made to run just as well on other gasoline mixtures, and those which cannot should be retired.

The most ignored source of lead is our tap water. Simplot, the company which supplies the particular type of dental additives which Seattle injects into our water, admits that it contains lead, and so too does NSF, the quasi-agency which regulates water additives. Even worse, the dental additives are excellent lead solvents, and there is a lot of lead in Seattle plumbing. There is lead in old service lines (street to house), in brass-lead pipes, in galvanized pipe (which absorbs lead from lead service lines), in the solder used on copper pipe, and in virtually all water faucets (8% lead is considered “lead free”).

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported in 2004 that lead had been found in Seattle schools at up to 1,600 ppb. This is an astonishing level. The EPA action level is 15 ppb, and the EPA goal is zero. 1,600 ppb equals 1.6 ppm, which is twice the current .8 ppm level of the dental additives themselves.

The chemistry is basic. Dental additives leach lead. Lead as metal ion irreversibly binds sulfhydryl groups on proteins, including both structural and enzymatic proteins. When Tacoma turned off the dental additives in 1992, lead levels dropped dramatically. Lead damages the brains of fetuses and babies most of all because their cells are still dividing.

It is politically incorrect to oppose injecting dental additives to drinking water. Politicians avoid the issue out of fear of the well-funded and well-organized pro-additives dental lobby.

Nevertheless, it is an indisputable fact that the dental additives used right now in Seattle contain not only lead but also arsenic, mercury, cadmium, barium, and thallium (which is slightly radioactive).

If we are really serious about lowering blood lead levels, we need to turn off the dental additives. There are other and better ways to protect teeth such as proper brushing, supplementing vitamin D, basic dental services, and not eating sugar.

See documentation for all assertions made at www.wordpress.GetTheLeadOut.com.


James Robert Deal, Attorney
WSBA Number 8103

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