Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

23 Mar 2017

Grant directive from State of Colorado to Health Department: ‘maximize optimal fluoride intake’

Posted by Adam Howell


Print Friendly

It’s no secret that before the City of Durango put the fluoride issue to voters, representatives from the San Juan Basin Health Department spoke publicly about their pro-water fluoridation philosophy.

ScreenHunter_85 Mar. 23 17.18

Kari Plante, the Regional Oral Health Specialist for San Juan Basin Health Department, gets paid $46,431 a year in grant money to promote water fluoridation, among many other dental-hygiene related duties.

At least one official at a City Council public hearing on January 30, 2017 was on the payroll of a grant that directed her to promote water fluoridation.

Kari Plante, the Regional Oral Health Specialist for San Juan Basin Health Department, spoke publicly at the January public hearing while on the payroll of a grant that directed her to “maximize optimal intake of fluoride by community members,” according to grant documentation.

City Councilors organized the public hearing in advance of a vote to decide if they would adopt an ordinance to ban the fluoridation of Durango’s drinking water at the request of a ballot initiative petitioner’s committee, or to put the question to a vote in the upcoming April election.

At the hearing, Plante gave comment about why she supports fluoridation, but did not disclose that her grant money asks her to “implement an action plan to maximize optimal intake of fluoride by community members.”

After the hearing, City Council decided to put the question to a vote of the electors.

A large yearly grant that the San Juan Basin Health Department receives from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for the “Oral Health Workforce Activities” program has a list of directives written in to it.

The $63,680-dollar Oral Health Workforce Activities grant directs SJBHD officials through a Statement of Work action plan to promote water fluoridation through the following activities:

  • “The contractor shall identify optimal fluoridation options for communities in La Plata County as part of the larger oral health infrastructure assessment.”

  • “The contractor shall implement an action plan to maximize optimal intake of fluoride by community members.”

One of the expected results of these activities as stated in the grant’s Statement of Work is that “the general population in the catchment area will have access to optimal amounts of systemic fluoride.”

Those carrying out the work with this grant money locally are two hourly employees:

  1. Kari Plante, the Regional Oral Health Specialist, is projected in the 2016-2017 grant cycle as working 1,170 hours at $29.40/hour for a total salary of $46,431.30
  2. Kim McCarl is listed in the grant as earning $13.87/hour for 200 hours for a total $3,744.90.

Grant documentation for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 cycles were provided to this blogger through a Colorado Open Records Act request that was made to the San Juan Basin Health Department.

San Juan Basin Health Department has been awarded the Oral Health Workforce Activities program grant for at least the past three years, according to SJBHD financial statements.

Oral Health Workforce Grant funding is awarded yearly from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. From there, it is awarded to several Colorado communities with the San Juan Basin Health Department in La Plata County being one of those recipients.

Pro-fluoridation people argue the benefits of sodium fluoride’s ability to limit tooth decay.

Anti-fluoridation people argue that they should have the right to choose what medications they ingest. They also have concerns with it’s source from China, and the health effects that include dental fluorosis and neurotoxicity.

Water fluoridation removed from CDC’s Top Ten Public Health Achievements for 2000 to 2010

San Juan Basin Health Department continues to boast wording on its website from a document that the CDC published in 1999 that listed the fluoridation of drinking water as “One of the top public health achievements of the 20th century.”

ScreenHunter_84 Mar. 23 11.50

This hover button was on the Dental page of the San Juan Basin Health Department website on March 23, 2017.

The CDC published a more recent list of Ten Great Public Health Achievements for the years 2001 through 2010 that excludes fluoridation of drinking water. Why?

The CDC’s Ram Koppaka did not return this blogger’s phone call where a request was made for an on-record interview.

Also, a recorded voice greeting on the CDC’s phone system directed me to a Media Relations phone number where another recorded voice greeting gave me a message without the opportunity to leave a voice mail.

So and so is unavailable, please try your call again later,” said the CDC message.


Budgets and reports for San Juan Basin Health Department
http://sjbhd.org/who-we-are/reports/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Oral Health Strategic Framework
2014–2017
https://www.hrsa.gov/oralhealth/oralhealthframework.pdf

SJBHD financials for 2015
http://sjbhd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/SJBHD-Audited-Financial-Statements-2015.pdf

SJBHD financials for 2014. A San Juan Basin Health Department Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards for the Year Ended December 31 (see page 30), 2014 shows that the Department received $63,274 in grant money from the U.S. Department of Human Health and Services. The grant was awarded for the Oral Health Workforce Activities program. It was passed to San Juan Basin Health Department through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
http://sjbhd.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/SJBHD-2014-FS.pdf

San Juan Basin Health Department Annual Financial Report for 2013. See page 31.
http://sjbhd.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/2013_SJBHauditfinancials.pdf

Leave a Reply

Message: