The fluoridation of Gloucester’s water system is something to which residents have been accustomed for decades.
And there are all sorts of reasons to keep community-wide fluoridation in place for Gloucester and Rockport alike — as noted in a letter to the Times last year signed by three dozen Cape Ann dentists. Among other things, fluoridation gives children whose families can’t afford high-cost dental work the same opportunity for growing healthy teeth as children from families of better means. And that level playing field is important when it comes to public health.
Those who have expressed growing concerns over fluoridation, however, have raised a number of questions — including whether the use of fluoridated water should be accessible by choice, not part and parcel of a community’s water service. And their bids to have added fluoride removed from local water systems have gained strength, not only here on Cape Ann, but in other North Shore communities as well.
To that end, Gloucester’s city councilors, like Town Meeting voters and voters at Rockport’s Town meeting and that town’s selectmen, have made the right call in approving a non-binding referendum on the issue for the city’s November election ballot.
This is an important health decision in which all residents deserve a voice.