Letter: OPUD fluoride decision unconscionable
It is unconscionable that the actions of three people may make the children of Olivehurst suffer needlessly from tooth decay, pain and infection, in addition to missed school days due to an ill-advised decision to end community water fluoridation. Less than two years after requesting funding and receiving $113,500 from First 5 Yuba for the fluoridation of its drinking water, the Olivehurst Public Utility District board voted 3-2 to remove it.
Three OPUD board members bought into the concept of junk science regarding community water fluoridation when in fact, its safety and effectiveness is supported by more than 60 years of scientific research and evidence proving fluoride's benefits, including its ability to reduce dental disease by as much as 40 percent.
Community water fluoridation is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Currently, more than 74 percent of the US population receives the benefits of community water fluoridation. Unfortunately, Olivehurst children will no longer be among them.
Instead, the OPUD board voted to put children at risk of suffering unnecessary dental pain that if left untreated can have debilitating effects, including chronic pain, difficulty learning and inability to eat properly. California children miss an estimated 874,000 school days each year due to dental problems costing local school districts approximately $28.8 million. For every $1 spent on community water fluoridation, $38 is saved in treatment costs for tooth decay.
This is a costly decision by the board with detrimental consequences that will impact the oral health of Olivehurst children for many years to come.
California Dental Association
Health officer, Yuba County
Health and Human Services
Yuba County Office of Education