Friday, November 04, 2005

On Fluoridation

Fluoridation is up on the ballot in Tooele this year. I'm happy to have the chance to vote on fluoridation again. A similar measure was defeated a few years ago in Logan, and evidently about six years ago in Tooele as well. The measure is back up on the ballot again, and I relish the opportunity to vote for fluoridation once more.

The pseudo-scientific garbage arguments ("fluoride is POISON!!!!!") don't have any credence in the face of actual scientific research showing the benefits of fluoride. The only anti-fluoridation argument that makes any sense at all to me is the libertarian one-- "friends don't make friends drink fluoride." However, I don't think the libertarian argument holds water here. For one thing, we ALL are made to drink fluoride-- and chlorine-- and God knows what else is in our water, both naturally and by the hand of man. If our water has natural traces of arsenic, we are "all being made to drink arsenic." We cannot control what is naturally in our water, and my understanding is that Tooele's water already has a fifth of the fluoride level that is being proposed in the measure. As for what is put into the water by man, it is put in for our benefit. I hear no one arguing that "friends don't make friends drink chlorine" or that people ought to choose whether or not to have to boil their own water. What constitutes "our benefit" is decided on by the people, which is exactly why we have a ballot measure on fluoride in the first place. If the measure passes, it will be the sign that fluoridation is considered to be for the good of the public. Moreover, I would argue, in fact we are NOT being made to drink anything-- we are perfectly free to go over to Wal-Mart and pick up some tasty, fluoridation-free bottled water.

To the argument that we will be fluoridating our lawns more than our children, I say, the lawns don't give a crap (and, by the way, we chlorinate our lawns more than our drinking water too, even though the lawns can handle the bacteria). To the argument that people who want fluoride can go to the pharmacy and get it, I say, the people who don't want fluoride can go a few aisles over and get themselves some bottled water. I hear you can even have bottled water delivered right to your door, something that you can't say for the doctor's prescription necessary for fluoride supplements. To those who argue that fluoridation costs money, I would ask them how much their own dental expenditures cost, both directly (through their own services) and indirectly (through rising insurance rates)-- that is, if they even have dental insurance. And to those who cry "for The Children!" I say, "You mean those kids over there with the gold and silver teeth? The ones whose parents can't afford to get their teeth checked all the time, because they know there will be another cavity that they won't be able to pay for? Those children?"