FLUORIDE helps reduce tooth decay. That’s not just the opinion of a child of the 1950s who spent too many hours in the dentist chair and has the dental work to prove it. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington, D.C. calls community water FLUORIDATION “one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
Gloucester is the latest North Shore community to be engaged in a debate over the public drinking supply — specifically, whether the city should continue to add fluoride to it.
The most recent community to face this battle was neighboring Rockport, where common sense prevailed, and so did fluoride.
Fluoride helps reduce tooth decay. That’s not just the opinion of a child of the 1950s who spent too many hours in the dentist chair and has the dental work to prove it. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington, D.C. calls community water fluoridation “one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
And yet, by a vocal minority, fluoride has been called everything from a communist conspiracy to a cancer-causing killer. Its opponents use the most outrageous claims in their efforts to convince people to unwind that particular clock. Their arguments are misleading at best, and outright false at worst. Their scare tactics, which they believe are bolstered by the junk science they read online, have been discredited by the most prestigious medical and dental organizations in the world, including but not limited to the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, U.S. Public Health Service, and closer to home the Massachusetts Dental Society. This city’s own Board of Health favors a fluoridated water supply.
How can all those organizations be so wrong? What possible motive could they have if not to try to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the people on this planet?
Here’s the thing: This question, non-binding or otherwise, has no business on the Nov. 3 ballot. But under the guise of giving people public input, about something they know very little if nothing about, a majority of the City Council allowed a special interest group to have its way. Only councilors McGeary and Lundberg opposed putting the matter up to public vote. And McGeary had the fortitude to say he’d oppose it even if it did pass at the polls.
Elected officials who look for ways to avoid tough votes really need to find something else to do with their time. They’re elected to lead, not pass the baton to someone else.
Otherwise, what public health issue will be next on the ballot? Why stop at fluoride? How about chlorine? A website for a group called the Global Healing Center says the risk of developing cancer is 93 percent higher in people who drink or are otherwise exposed to chlorinated water.
Maybe flu shots. You can find any number of sites recounting the dangers of the flu vaccine, including one called “10 reasons why flu shots are more dangerous than the flu!” (exclamation point theirs).
Heaven help us if the anti-vaccine people get a toehold around here, because apparently all you need to do is raise your voice loud enough and you get instant credibility.
Do we really have the right to just “let the people decide” by referendum the health of its citizens — especially those below the poverty level who stand to be the biggest losers?
I for one don’t want to live in that kind of society, if you can even call it that. If we have to have this vote, and it looks like we do, please vote yes for the health of all this city’s residents, not just a fortunate few.