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Letter to Freedom of Information Act Office and Response from FOIA Office

...Mineral content of water
...Health benefit/disbenefit of water
...Health claims for water

Jan. 10, 1995

Food And Drug Administration
Freedom of Information Act Office
HFI-35, Room 12A-16
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Md. 20857
(301) 443-6310

Dear Sir or Ms:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

I request that I receive from you copies of documents obtained by a complete and thorough search of all filing systems and locations for all records maintained by your agency pertaining to the mineral content of water, or health benefit/disbenefit of water, or health claims concerning water. I also request the same information concerning water-based beverages such as soft drinks and beer. This search is to include any policy statements, research, records, letters, media announcements, and reports, and any other written materials. The time frame is Jan. 1, 1776 to Jan. 15, 1995.

I also request any written materials adressed to, or from, or copied to, or which mention, Dr. Elkan Blout, consultant to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, concerning water, other beverages, magnesium, or calcium, during the period Jan. 1, 1985 to Jan. 12, 1995.

I also request specifically that I receive copies of any communications on any of the above subjects to or from the following entities:

any office of the FDA
any predecessor agency of the FDA, such as the American Medical Association
the International Bottled Water Association
any predecessor to the International Bottled Water Association
any associations related to water and water-based beverages, such as soft drinks and beer
any bottlers or distributors of water and water-based beverages such as soft drinks and beer
any owners or operators of water sources such as municipalities, private water companies, wells, springs, streams, and bodies of water
The American Water Works Association, or any other association of water system operators
any other state, federal or local agency, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or foreign governments, or any elected or appointed official or judge of any state, local, or federal entity
any other affected or interested private party

I also request all "see references" to these names, a search of the ELSUR Index or any similar technique for locating records of electronic surveillance.

Please place any "missing" files pertaining to this request on "special locate" and advise that you have done this.

If documents are denied in part or in whole, please specify which exemption(s) is(are) claimed for each passage or whole document denied. Please provide a complete itemized inventory and detailed factual justification of total or partial denial of documents. Please specify the number of pages in each document and the total number of pages pertaining to this request. For classified material denied, please include the following information: the classification rating (such as confidential, secret, or top secret); identify the classifier; date or event for automatic declassification, classification review, or downgrading; if applicable, identify the official authorizing extension or deferral of automatic declassification or review; and, if applicable, give the reason for extended or deferred classification.

I request that excised material be "blacked out" rather than "whited out" or "cut out". I expect, as provided by the Freedom of Information Act, that the remaining non-exempt portions of documents will be released.

Please send a memo (copy to me) to the appropriate units in your office or agency to assure that no records related to this request are destroyed. Please advise of any destruction of records and include the date of and authority for such destruction.

As I expect to appeal any denials, please specify the office and address to which such an appeal should be directed.

I believe my request qualifies for a waiver of fees since the release of the requested information would primarily benefit the general public and be "in the public interest" for these reasons:

The attached research papers, "Calculations of American Deaths Caused By Magnesium Deficiency As Projected From International Data" and the paper, "A Short History Of The Magnesium Deficiency Catastrophe In The United States", strongly suggests that 8 million Americans have died from magnesium deficiency since 1940, and that these 8 million deaths are in large part due to the actions of the FDA since 1940 and the actions of the FDA's functional predecesssor, the American Medical Association since about 1880, in that these agencies did discourage and disparage the consumption of minerals in water so that now American bottled waters contain only 15% as much magnesium as European bottled waters, and, unlike Europe, consumption of low-TDS municipal water has been encouraged and approved by the FDA in the U.S. These policies have apparently killed 8 million Americans since 1940.

This subject is a matter of "genuine public interest" in that hundreds of messages on this subject have been posted and exchanged on the Internet in the last three months, and the State of California's Dept. of Health has been conducting a related investigation, and this matter is the subject of a related Citizen Petition to the FDA, Docket 94P-0361/CP1. Furthermore, as author of the Citizen Petition and the articles previously cited, I am qualified to interpret and disseminate the information to the public, and my over-riding concern is the public interest of preventing about 215,000 deaths per annum.

I can be reached at the phone listed below. Please call rather than write if there are any questions or if you need additional information from me.

I expect a response to this request within ten (10) working days, as provided for in the Freedom Of Information Act.


Paul W. Mason


1. Calculations of American Deaths Caused By Magnesium Deficiency, As Projected From International Data

2. A Short History of The Magnesium Catastrophe In The United States

3. Citizen Petition to the FDA, Docket 94P-0361/CP1

Response from FDA to Freedom of Information Request

Dear Mr. Mason:

This is in response to your Freedom of Information request (copy enclosed) dated January 10, 1995, and a subsequent letter (copy enclosed), dated February 19, 1995, in which you narrowed the scope of your request specifying that you wished to receive "copies of the FDA's correspondence concerning water, water-based beverages and magnesium to/from the American Medical Association, International Bottled Water Association in the time frame of January 1, 1993, to February 19, 1995."

Documents were sent to you March 10, 1995, from the Food and Drug Administration's Executive Secretariat's files, assessing charges of $55.60.

In response to your amended request, FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has conducted a search of its files for responsive documents. Responsive documents constituting approximately 1,000 pages has been located.

CFSAN expended twentyfour (24) hours locating all the responsive documents at a charge of $784.00 for search time. CFSAN estimates that reviewing the documents for release will cost $520.00. The total estimated cost for CFSAN personnel, including the charges for reproduction, search and review is $1304.00.

An invoice for $1462.85, which includes the information sent to you on March 10, 1995, and the estimated charges from CFSAN is enclosed with this letter, as prepayment is required for charges over $250.00. If our estimate is higher than the final charge you will be reimbursed for the difference; if the final charge is higher than the estimated amount, you will be billed for that amount.

Please send your payment to:
Food and Drug Administration
5600 Fishers Lane, 12A-16
Rockville, MD 20857

Sincerely yours,

Gerald H. Deighton
Freedom of Information Staff


I have not paid the $1462.85. The FDA should release this information to the public without fees, in the public interest.

This page was first uploaded to The Magnesium Web Site on September 30, 1995