Sixty-five years ago, Grand Rapids, Mich., became the first city in the world to fluoridate its water supplies, initiating what the National Institutes for Health calls one of the “great preventive health measures” in U.S. history. More than 200 million Americans now receive protection from tooth decay in their drinking water. In the next six weeks, thanks to equipment installed at the city’s three water-treatment plants, San Diegans will join their ranks, courtesy of a generous $3.9 million grant from the First 5 Commission of San Diego County.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that there is no identified source of funding to keep fluoridation going beyond 2012, when First 5 funds for operating and maintaining the fluoridation equipment lapse. The further bad news is the continued existence of a grossly inaccurate grass-roots disinformation campaign that’s meant to revive Cold War claptrap about fluoridation being a plot to systematically poison Americans, except now the conspiracy is run by evil corporations, not the commies.
San Diego politicians and civic leaders need to figure out how to respond to bad news item no. 1. The citizenry needs to just laugh off bad news item no. 2. Fluoridation is a proven health plus, and it’s high time that we finally caught up to Grand Rapids.