BOSTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) — Massachusetts, long a leader in public health, trails most of the country when it comes to providing its residents with fluoridated water, a study says.
A state study says the state ranks 36th in the country in providing the substance in drinking water and found nearly 150 cities and towns that could provide it don’t, The Boston Globe reported Wednesday.
Voters in Massachusetts cities including Springfield and Worcester have repeatedly defeated measures to put fluoride in their water, rejecting the pleas of dentists and health directors that the chemical prevents tooth decay.
Deborah Burns campaigned nearly three decades ago for fluoridated water in a local election.
“Some people listened,” she recalled, “but a lot of people were saying we were trying to poison them, poison their children, poison the water.”
Fluoridation foes cite both health concerns and issues of personal liberty. There is, they argue, fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash, and dentists can order fluoride treatments.
“We support the voluntary use of fluoride — we’re not sitting around saying we don’t want people to have good oral health,” said Linda McLaren, president of Massachusetts Communities for Pure Water, which opposes fluoridation.
“That’s really where our heart is: the right of citizens of this state and everywhere to choose what they want to put into their own body,” she said.
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