Fluorine is found on periodic table

I have taken the Thursday letter writer of “It acts like a bully in the body” advice to heart and opened my mind to science. Fairly easy, actually, having taught chemistry for the last 19 years.

First, please don’t underestimate the significance of even slight chemical differences. For instance, it could be disastrous to believe that H2O and H2O2 are almost the same since they look so similar (water vs hydrogen peroxide).

The letter writer confuses fluorine with fluoride. Big, big difference. Fluorine, the element, is what’s on the Periodic Table, and is dangerously reactive. This is what the letter writer refers to, but unfortunately she attributes it to fluoride, what’s in drinking water. Fluoride is an ion; a fluorine atom that’s gained one electron. No big deal, you say? Sorry, huge difference.

When elements gain or lose electrons, they do a Jekyll and Hyde switcheroo (or in this case, a Hyde and Jekyll switcheroo). If they are very reactive as an element, they become pussycats as ions. Fluoride, the ion, is a pussycat and doesn’t react in the body as so many people mistakenly believe.

I think the Everett Council would be much happier to listen to people who speak from their understanding of the science behind fluoride, rather than from their ignorance of science.

Jeff Riechel

Snohomish