Feb. 19 — To the Editor:
Wednesday, Feb. 12, was a sad day for New Hampshire parents and their babies. But most of them will not even realize it, and that was the point of what happened.
House Bill 312, legislation that would have required a notice on water bills warning parents not to give fluoridated water to their infants, was recommended for defeat in subcommittee under heavy lobbying pressure by the N.H. Dental Association and the N.H. Water Works Association. State Rep. Rich DiPentima, D-Portsmouth, a member of the subcommittee, who has written multiple letters to the editor supporting water fluoridation, is said to have been instrumental in the committee’s decision to recommend the bill be killed.
The reason for HB 312 was to ensure that the public was aware of warnings, issued as far back as 2006 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association, that parents should avoid using fluoridated water in infant formula due to increased risk of dental fluorosis, which causes cosmetic and, sometimes, structural damage to teeth.
The CDC’s Web site indicates that dental fluorosis only occurs from fluoride ingested while the teeth are developing inside the gums, and that any protection from tooth decay occurs only after the teeth have emerged from the gums, via direct contact with the fluoride. Given the ample evidence linking fluoridated water to IQ deficits and other neurological problems in children, one would think that putting a warning not to use fluoridated water in infant formula on water bills would be a no-brainer. But clearly, the lobbyists and Mr. DiPentima thought otherwise.
All is not lost, however. The full committee will be hearing testimony on this bill in the coming week, and can override the subcommittee’s vote.
The subcommittee comprises the following House members: Rep. Alida Millham, DiPentima, Rep. Steve Schmidt and Rep. Laurie Harding. I suggest you call them and tell them what you think of their vote. Perhaps they will change it for the full committee vote this week.
See www.fluoridefreeportsmouth.com for committee contact information, and further information on CDC statements.