Feb. 22 — To the Editor:
I am obliged to respond to a letter to the editor in today’s Portsmouth Herald. The letter was regarding House Bill 312, relative to notices added to water bills in order to advise parents of some children less than 12 months of age of the risks of dental fluorosis. The author of the letter stated, “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.” Said by whom?
The facts are that the author of the letter never attended either of the two subcommittee meetings. The fact is that during the first subcommittee meeting, I volunteered to draft an amendment to improve the bill and make it acceptable to all parties.
At the second subcommittee meeting, I had in hand an amendment (2011-0248h) that would have done two things. It would have changed the word “warning” to “statement” and it changed the wording of the statement to be consistent with that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association. I was fully prepared to offer this amendment and, if adopted, move an ought to pass motion on the bill. However, during this second meeting, a number of additional potential problems with the bill were presented. The most concerning was that the bill would present possible constitutional issues by placing an unfunded mandate on local communities. The bill also would have only provided a notice to parents who use water from fluoridated communities and would not inform parents living in communities served by small water utilities or those with private wells with high levels of naturally occurring fluoride. The members of the subcommittee, as such, decided that this bill was inexpedient to legislate and that the issue is best addressed by physicians and dentists discussing the matter with parents directly.
These are the facts of this matter presented by one who was actually at the meeting, not based on an unnamed secondhand source. Other members of the subcommittee will corroborate my statements if anyone wishes independent confirmation.
Rep. Rich DiPentima
Rockingham District 16