Fluoridation Practice l Fluoridation Facts 79 processed along with the phosphoric acid and becomes a trace component of the phosphate fertilizer. In the other plants, the silica tetrafluoride gas is separated from the phosphoric acid. Roughly 60% of the fluoride recovered from processing calcium phosphate ore is sold for use as fluoridation additives. The fluoridation additive produced by this process is fluorosilicic acid. While most of the product is sold as fluorosilicic acid, some of the product is partially neutralized to sodium fluorosilicate salt and some is fully neutralized to sodium fluoride salt. In the U.S., 77% of the fluoridation additives used are fluorosilicic acid, 15% are sodium fluorosilicate and 8% are sodium fluoride.* About 4% of the fluoridation additives used are derived from the processing of calcium fluoride into hydrogen fluoride using a gas separation technique to recover the fluorosilicic acid from the hydrogen fluoride.* About 1% of the fluoridation additives used are derived from the production of high-purity silica. Fluorosilicic acid is produced as part of the purification of the silica.* * The preceding paragraphs were developed using references 4, 30 through 35 and personal communication from Mr. Kip Duchon, P.E., national fluoridation engineer, CDC. From time to time, opponents of fluoridation allege that fluoridation additives are by-products of the phosphate fertilizer industry in an effort to suggest the additives are not safe. By definition, by-products are materials produced as a result of producing something else. In the chemical industry, a byproduct (secondary product) is anything other than the principal product produced. The fact that a product is a secondary product of a manufacturing process should not suggest the item is bad, harmful or a waste product. On the contrary, by-products may have certain characteristics which make them valuable resources. In the production of phosphate fertilizer, the fluoridation additive, fluorosilicic acid, is a by-product along with gypsum.36 Gypsum is commonly use in manufacturing wall board used in construction. The production of orange juice provides another example of valuable by-products. In addition to orange juice, various by-products are obtained from oranges during juice production that are used in cleaners, fragrances and flavorings.37 Fluoridation additives are valuable by-products produced as a result of producing phosphate fertilizer. To ensure the public’s safety, additives used in water fluoridation meet standards of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and NSF International (NSF).4 52. Does the process of water fluoridation present unusual safety concerns for water systems and water facility operators? Answer. No. With proper monitoring, maintenance, water facility operator training and systems planning, water fluoridation is a safe and reliable process. Fact. Water facilities and water facility operators perform a valuable public service by carefully adjusting the level of fluoride in water to improve the oral health of the community. Facilities and personnel are subject to a number of regulations designed to ensure safety. Employers must conform to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.38 OSHA’s mission is to assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Under the OSH Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. Employers must comply with all applicable OSHA standards.38 Additionally, in order to assist in protecting the professionals who produce sustainable supplies of high-quality drinking water, the American Water Works Association publishes detailed guidance on safety and safe working conditions for water plant personnel.39 Furthermore, OSHA requires that Safety Data Sheets (SDS), previously known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), be readily available to all employees for potentially harmful substances handled in the workplace under the Hazard Communication regulation.40 A SDS may include instructions for the safe use and potential hazards associated with a particular material and are typically made available in the area where the material is stored or used. Information contained in a SDS focuses on the potential hazards of working with the material in an occupational setting. Adherence to the SDS guidelines for handling fluoride additives helps to ensure the
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