In one of the most surprising developments in this year’s legislature, the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee voted 16-3 last week to recommend passage of HB 192, which would prohibit the introduction of fluoride into any public water system in the state. The committee then voted to put the bill on the consent calendar for next week’s House session.
The good news is that we understand the bill is likely to be tabled at the House session. The bad news is that, as has already been demonstrated, no outcome is ever certain.
Bills to ban fluoride have become a perennial exercise in the legislature, and they are always defeated overwhelmingly. From 2011 through 2017, four bills to prohibit or limit the use of fluoride were introduced in the House. All were voted Inexpedient to Legislate in committee, by successive votes of 16-0, 16-0, 16-2, and 19-1, and all were killed by voice votes in the House.
And for good reason. The Centers for Disease Control recommends fluoride in drinking water as the safest, most cost-effective method of preventing tooth decay and overall improvement in oral health. This recommendation is supported by reviews of the latest scientific assessments by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency. Apart from enabling municipalities to protect the health of their residents, it helps to reduce municipal welfare budgets. According to the American Dental Association, every dollar invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs.
Nor is fluoride some kind of Strangelovean plot to impurify our precious bodily fluids without our knowledge. Under existing law, fluoride may be added to public water supplies only if it is approved by a public referendum—the purest form of local, citizen control. We cannot imagine why state legislators would want to prohibit municipalities from protecting public health with the consent of the public.
About 350,000 New Hampshire residents are on public water sup-plies with fluoride, as are over 210 million people nationwide. This bill would adversely affect residents of Bedford, Belmont, Concord, Derry, Dover, Durham, Goffstown, Greenland, Hanover, Hooksett, Laconia, Lancaster, Lebanon, Londonderry, Manchester, Madbury, New Castle, Newington, Portsmouth, and Rochester.
As mentioned, HB 192 will be on the consent calendar for next week’s House session, on Tuesday, March 19. If it is to be tabled or killed, it will first need to be removed from the consent calendar (which any representative may do). A motion to table would then be in order. Failing that, the committee’s recommendation will need to be voted down, to be followed by a vote of Inexpedient to Legislate. Please ask your representatives to (1) support a motion to table or, (2) alternatively, vote down the committee recommendation of Ought to Pass and support a subsequent motion of Inexpedient to Legislate.
This week’s to-do list…
• Ask your representatives to vote to table or kill HB 192,which would prohibit fluoride in public water supplies…
*Original article online at https://www.nhmunicipal.org/Resources/LegislativeBulletin/183