Convincing a majority of lawmakers of the benefits of requiring fluoride in New Jersey’s public water supply has been like pulling teeth for years in the state legislature.
The long-hoped for measure by dentists has consistently been opposed by some environmentalists and water companies. But on Monday, the Assembly’s health committee took another shot at moving the bill.
“Hope springs eternal,” said Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), a medical doctor and chairman of the heath committee, which cleared a bill similar to legislation that failed to make it through the last session.
Only 13 percent of New Jerseyans drink fluoridated water, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), placing New Jersey next to the bottom nationwide.
Dentists say access to the teeth-strengthening fluoride would drastically reduce cavities, especially in the New Jersey’s poorer cities.
But the bill has its critics -- water companies and environmentalists who cite its impact on the environment, potentially harmful health effects, and the cost of installing fluoridation equipment for opposing the measure.
Conaway said he is encouraged to see bipartisan support for the water fluoridation bill, A-1811. It is co-sponsored by health committee member Assemblywoman Nancy F. Munoz (R-Union, Morris and Somerset), who is a nurse.
The Assembly health committee heard from both sides of the issue before clearing the bill for consideration by the full Assembly.
Read the full story in NJ Spotlight @ Another Push to Add Fluoride to Public Drinking Water.
NJ Spotlight is an online news service providing insight and information on issues critical to New Jersey.