A local group that successfully fought fluoridation of Lafayette’s drinking water in the 1980s has resurfaced to fight the latest attempt mandated by the state.
The state Legislature adopted a bill in 2008 and Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law Act 761 requiring fluoridation of drinking water by 26 public water suppliers that serve 5,000 or more customers in Louisiana. That includes Lafayette Utilities System.
“Years ago we had a group and kept it out of Lafayette,” resident Jean Hunt said. She is a member of Citizens Opposing Fluoridation. “Our goal is to keep it out of the state and definitely out of Lafayette.”
The group sponsored a presentation Tuesday night at UL by Paul Connett, executive director of the Fluoride Action Network which was attended by 70 to 80 people.
“It’s a poor medical practice. It is unethical. It is unnecessary,” Connett said of adding fluoride to public drinking water.
But many dentists and other health experts say fluoridation is the simplest way to protect children from tooth decay. About 60 percent of the United States population already receives fluoridated public water.
Engineers can control how much fluoride they add to drinking water supplies, but they cannot control how much water – hence how much fluoride – people consume every day, Connett said.
“You’re forcing medication on individuals without their informed consent,” which is unethical, Connett said.
Too much fluoride can be harmful, causing thyroid, dental and bone problems, he said.
Fluoridating water is an inefficient way to administer the chemical anyway, since most water is sent down the drain with baths, showers, washing machines and toilets, retired UL Chemical Engineering Professor James Reeves said.
Twenty-three studies in four continents show too much fluoride reduces a child’s IQ and causes brittle bones in the elderly, he said.
Niall Campbell of Lafayette has personal reasons for opposing the state mandate.
“Because it’s a toxic waste and I’m going to have my first grandchild in August, and it will be raised here in Lafayette,” she said.