Fluoride in Your Water-What Can You Do?

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Interviewer: When it comes to fluoridation, is that a community-by-community decision?

- Male 2: Yes.

Interviewer: Is that the level it's at?

- Male 2: Well, no, I beg your pardon. There is no federal mandate to fluoridate. There are certain federal agencies that promote it vigorously, like the Oral Health Division at the Center for Disease Control. About 30 people, they go out, they push, push, push fluoridation. They give awards, they give incentives, and they have their people working in each state health department. So, yes, they promote it. 

No, it is a local decision unless the state has mandatory fluoridation. I think there are now 13 states that have mandatory fluoridation and D.C. D.C. and two recently. Louisiana passed it a couple of years ago. Arkansas passed it last year. California passed it in 1995. We've got mandatory fluoridation in California, and that's very painful. When the state mandates it, then you've got to change a state law.

Interviewer: Mm-hm.

- Male 2: If it's a local decision, then you have the chance of referendum and so on. And, also, you've got the chance of councils coming to a sensible decision that this was a bad idea. Some are stopping now to save money, but since October of 2010, I think it's 53 communities have stopped fluoridation, either because it was voted out by the citizens or because a council has decided to stop. One of the biggest was Calgary, 1.1 million people. Pinellas County, Florida, that was 700,000 people. And several communities in Kansas, several in the United States, a couple in New Zealand. All in all, over the last two years, 3 million people have been liberated from fluoridation. But it's much more difficult when you've got state-wide mandating of fluoridation.

Interviewer: Mm-hm.

Who is in charge of making the decision to fluoridate a communities water? It depends on where you live. Dr. Paul Connett discusses the differences when it comes to states and communities that fluoridate the public water supply. He illustrates why it's more difficult to change laws in some communities than others.

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