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- Curacao – On August 2, the Minister of Health, Environment, and Nature directed the public water provider for the Caribbean island of 160,000+ people to cease the addition of fluoridation chemicals to the drinking water. The practice was found to be “legally unjustified,” according to the Ministry of Health. The island has been fluoridated for over 60 years with no discernable positive impact, but has come under fire from a well-organized group of citizens opposed to the practice in recent years. A committee led by local organizer Rudolf De Wit is still planning to go forward with a lawsuit to permanently end fluoridation on the island perminantly.
- Poweshiek Water Association (PWA), Iowa – A water provider serving approximately 25,000 residents in 11 counties in rural East Central Iowa has discontinued water fluoridation, and even re-affirmed their decision after renewed lobbying by proponents. Concerned customers first brought the dangers of fluoridation to the PWA’s attention in 2013. After the board did their own research, they agreed that fluoride supplementation ought to be an individual choice. After making this decision, they were heavily lobbied by state and national dental lobbying organizations, as well as state and county health agencies. However, they didn’t hear from a single local water user who supported the practice, only from residents who opposed it. Since they serve locals and not out-of-town lobbyists they reaffirmed their rejection of the practice this July.
Legislation has passed out of the Congressional Energy and Commerce Committee that could waste millions in federal tax-dollars on grants to state dental lobbying organizations’ efforts to force fluoridation on states and municipalities across the country.
H.R. 2422, called the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017, is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize and add to existing oral health promotion programs through 2022, at a cost of $160 million over 5 years for taxpayers. A significant portion of this money will most certainly be used by state dental associations to fund pro-fluoridation lobbying campaigns in communities that are currently not fluoridated, have recently rejected fluoridation, or are considering an end to fluoridation. No town with a public water supply in any state will be safe from fluoridation lobbying efforts if this passes.
At first glance, directing federal funds through CDC grants to innovative dental programs for the poor and underserved seems like a good idea. However, two vague sections of the bill, which don’t mention fluoridation specifically, are intended to authorize the use of federal funds for the promotion of the practice by state dental associations and their affiliated local and regional astroturfing campaigns. The American Dental Association (ADA) was instrumental in working with sponsors to develop this bill for their own benefit.
Section e(1)A authorizes grants “to stake holders to develop and implement initiatives…to improve oral health education and dental disease prevention, including through community-wide prevention programs…” Section e(2)A authorizes grants to dental lobbying organizations by making “eligible entities” out of “State or local dental associations,” and “community-based organizations.”
While fluoridation isn’t mentioned in the text, and wasn’t mentioned in the ADA’s lobbying materials or in their representative’s testimony in favor of the bill, it is a primary part of their Action for Dental Health Initiative, as well as the current federal law the bill amends. Effectively, by leaving controversial fluoridation language out of the bill, and replacing it with vague authorization, the ADA has successfully tricked House committee members.
Similar bills were introduced during the both of the past two congressional sessions, but failed, along with H.R.416; the sponsors of which had collected hundreds-of-thousands of dollars combined in contributions from the dental lobby over a two-year period. Just like before, with your help we can ensure this bill is either amended to prohibit funding for the promotion of fluoridation, or suffers the same fate as the previous legislation.
FAN’s lobby-day will take place following our two-day Citizen’s Conference on Fluoride. Our focus will be on killing or amending H.R. 2422, but we will also be calling for the suspension of all federal funding for the promotion of fluoridation, and a long overdue Congressional hearing and study of the issue. We hope that you can join us for this effort on Capitol Hill.
Whether you’re attending the lobby-day in September or staying home, please stay tuned for additional action requests for H.R. 2422. With a coordinated effort, both in local congressional districts and in D.C., we have a greater chance of killing this awful bill. For now, please email and call your federal officials, and share this campaign with friends, family, fellow campaigners, and on your social media profiles.
MAKE APPOINTMENTS FOR LOBBY DAY
- You can determine who your U.S. Representative is (and contact them) using the U.S. House of Representative’s WriteYourRep page.
- You can also examine online maps of the Congressional Districts maintained by GovTrack.
- The U.S. Senate’s list of all Senators is provided here.
Latest Fluoride News
–Fluoride-Free Toothpaste Market Analysis 2017-2022 (International)
–Timaru Fluoride-Free Campaign Imelda Hitchcock Dies (New Zealand)
–Dr. Leonard Horowitz Responds to NHMRC Review (Australia)
–Albuquerque: County Water Authority Might Add Fluoride (New Mexico)
–Editorial: On Fluoridation, Water Authority Listened to Public (Pennsylvania)
For more fluoride related media, please visit FAN’s News Archive.
Fluoride Action Network