Connecticut’s Strong Water Fluoridation Workgroup’s Statewide Victory
Connecticut, the first state ever to approve a law assuring residents’ access to fluoridated water, successfully amended that law this month. While maintaining guaranteed access, the state changed the level of fluoride to the amount now recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which reflects the current scientific evidence.
A Community Water Fluoridation Workgroup was convened to bring stakeholders to the table to discuss issues, enhance communication among them, and to prepare for the revision. The Connecticut Coalition for Oral Health, the Connecticut Oral Health Initiative, the Connecticut State Dental Association, the Office of Oral Health Drinking Water Section of the Department of Public Health, other health organizations, representatives from the water industry and other, nontraditional partners all participated.
Different partners played different roles. Some held workshops and mock hearings to prepare advocates’ communication skills. Others spread the word through e-newsletters, alerts, mail and a dedicated website. Citizens actively contacted legislators through email, letters and phone calls to assure their representatives remained aware of the issue and the bill.
For more than two years, with science on its side, this collaborative worked together to develop the knowledge and strategies that led to significant support for the bill and facilitated its quick and decisive movement through the legislative process. The bill was passed unanimously by both the state house and senate.
“It is important that people understand the facts about community water fluoridation,” said Mary Boudreau, Executive Director of the Connecticut Oral Health Initiative. “We applaud our coalition for all their hard work and our legislators for their focus on the evidence on and benefits of fluoride for their constituents in the face of opposition to the bill.”