Fluoride Action Network

Fluoridation State Legislative Update

December 28th, 2022 | Fluoride Action Network

Dear Friends:

Donations Doubled Again

Yesterday we raised $295 from 7 donors, bringing our new total to  $62,564 from 449 donors. Thank you to all who have supported FAN so far during our fundraiser for our 2023 operating budget.

We only have four more days to try to get as close as possible to our goal of $180,000 from 1000 donors by midnight on New Years Eve. To help us achieve this goal, a dedicated “super angel” has offered to match all donations until the end of the fundraiser!! This donor will be monitoring our progress and will let us know when we’re close to reaching their limit, but it sounds like it could be many thousands of dollars. Please help us take advantage of this generous offer.

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Fluoridation Legislation In the U.S.

The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) is constantly working at every level of government (local, state, federal, judicial, bureaucratic) to end this practice. We don’t always share everything with our full email list as it’s happening because we’re so focused on the task at hand and we also don’t want our opposition to know our strategies, but rest assured that FAN is not just a leader on providing educational and scientific resources, but also when it comes to advocacy.

There were a number of bills dealing with water fluoridation in our state legislatures this past year, including some big battles won and progress made on our side. Here is our update.

Bills Banning Fluoridation

FAN helped get legislation introduced in both Hawaii and New Hampshire to prohibit the addition of fluoridation chemicals to drinking water anywhere in these states. The bill in New Hampshire (HB611), an act abolishing fluoridation, had bi-partisan sponsorship and passed successfully out of the House Resources, Recreation, and Development committee with a bi-partisan vote of 12-9 in favor of a recommendation of “ought to pass.” FAN provided testimony at all of the hearings on this bill, and utilized our professional and grassroots networks to educate legislators. Below is a screenshot of the committee report:

Unfortunately, while the bill wasn’t defeated or killed, it was just barely tabled on the House floor without debate. This was not due to a lack of support, but because Covid had created an unprecedented backlog of bills leftover from the 2021 legislative session, and on voting day the legislature was facing a deadline to vote on more bills than they could reasonably get through before the crossover deadline (and a massive snowstorm). As a result, the House selected dozens of bills that they believed would generate the longest floor debates (ours included) and sacrificed them so they could work on the hundred or so bills they could resolve with little debate.

This has paved the way for more progress to be made in New Hampshire, and that legislature is poised to be among the first to prohibit the practice for all water supplies. There will be another bill this upcoming legislative session with bi-partisan support that we believe will have greater success.

The bill introduced in Hawaii (SB360) also would have banned fluoridation, though the state is already free from fluoridation chemicals, with the exception of the military bases. The primary purpose of the bill introduced by a team of veteran Senators was to push back against the dental lobby that has been introducing bills to mandate fluoridation throughout the state over the past 5 or so years. While FAN, along with a strong team of local professionals and citizens, were able to defeat these past mandate attempts, they kept being introduced. In response, we were able to work with Senators to have fluoridation prohibition bills introduced during the past three sessions to send a very clear message to the dental lobby that fluoridation would have no place in Hawaii. This strategy has worked, as it has helped defeat two mandate attempts, and resulted in last session being the first that a mandate bill was NOT introduced in many years, and instead a bill increasing medicaid reimbursements for dental care (an alternative to fluoridation) was supported by the dental lobby.

A bill was also introduced in Massachusetts (H895) to prohibit fluoridation throughout the state and require the state health department to publish a public recommendation that infants and pregnant women not use fluoridated water. A public hearing was held before the Joint Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture committee and the bill is currently being studied in the House.

Mandate Attempts

Two bills attempting to pass fluoridation mandates were introduced this past session by our opponents. The first was in New Jersey (3115), and while we were able to keep it from even getting a public hearing, it can still be acted upon this upcoming legislative session, so we must remain vigilant. We’re currently working with a coalition that includes the NJ Water Works Association, NJ Municipal Association, and a variety of private water companies that view fluoridation chemicals as “pollution” they don’t want to add to their customers’ drinking water.

The second state that was threatened this past year was Washington. The bills (HB1684 / SB5587), would have required that all water systems serving 5,000 or more residents conduct a cost and construction analysis on starting fluoridation anytime they make any upgrades or repairs to their water system.  It also would have set up a new bureaucratic department within state government to facilitate and promote fluoridation, as well as provide tax-payer funded engineering help for any water issues as long as fluoridation is considered by the community. This bill was primarily pushed by the dental insurance company, Delta Dental. Fortunately, FAN organized a coalition of professionals, organizations, and citizens from all over the state to testify and lobby against this bill.

While we weren’t able to completely kill the bill–primarily due to the massive amounts of campaign contributions handed out by Delta Dental–we were able to remove the mandate. The bill language was passed instead setting up a voluntary funding account for communities to that chose to complete a fluoridation cost assessment. As far as we can tell at the moment, only the City of Spokane has requested funds to study fluoridation from this new program.  We are currently working with Safe Water Spokane to defeat a fluoridation attempt being pushed there by Delta Dental.

Help Us Maintain This Momentum

It doesn’t take an expert to see that the tide has shifted, that state legislators are discovering the truth about fluoridation, and that the momentum is clearly on our side going into the 2023 legislative sessions. But we need your help to maintain our momentum! Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to FAN today.

Thank you,

Stuart Cooper

Executive Director

Fluoride Action Network