Thursday, February 8, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, February 8, 2001

Lawmakers must pass water fluoridation bill

Last year, in noting that fluoridation was an issue at the Legislature for the first time since 1987, we wondered if anything new would be added to the debate.

There was. What we have heard is an even more overwhelming case in favor of fluoridation than we heard in ’87.

We confess to having had a single qualm about fluoridation. And that is that we on Oahu now enjoy one of the world’s purest and finest sources of drinking water. So we were reluctant to put anything in it — anything at all. But the truth is that few of us are drinking totally unadulterated water anymore, anyway.

If we needed to be further convinced of the efficacy of fluoridation, here are some highlights from a commentary from state Health Director Bruce Anderson appearing this week on these pages:

Fluoridation usually costs $1 to $1.25 per capita. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates every $1 spent on water fluoridation could save as much as $80 in treatment costs for dental cavities in children.

A CDC analysis of a Louisiana study suggests "that Medicaid-eligible children in communities without fluoridated water were three times more likely than Medicaid-eligible children in communities with fluoridated water to receive dental treatment in a hospital, and the cost of dental treatment per eligible child was approximately twice as high."

"Although Hawaii is one of the healthiest states in the nation, currently, Hawaii has one of the highest rates of tooth decay in the country."

The fluoridation bill should become law in this session.

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