Meadville, Pennsylvania Votes to Initiate Fluoridation
The favorable 3-2 vote on starting water fluoridation in Meadville, Pennsylvania is wonderful news. Although Meadville isn’t a large city, this win is very important for several reasons.
First, several communities in the state have ceased community water fluoridation (CWF) in the past few years. This victory disrupts an anti-fluoride momentum, potentially setting Pennsylvania communities on a different path.
Second, this win validates a model of ongoing technical assistance that Meadville received from national stakeholders to overcome the misinformation streamed into the community from special interest groups that oppose fluoridation. Starting last year, the Boston-based Health Resources in Action (HRiA) coordinated a training and outreach effort to three communities, and one of them was Meadville. National organizations including the Children’s Dental Health Project and the American Fluoridation Society were involved in the training and other activities, some of it in person. This initiative brought together community members, advocates, medical, and dental stakeholders in support of a public health measure that will help achieve a healthier Meadville. Truly a team effort!
Often, we hear about these local campaigns only at the 11th hour. Being looped in much earlier helps us advise CWF advocates on strategy, what to expect from opponents, and how to direct the public to evidence-based information. Thanks to a coordinated approach, the children and families served by the Meadville Area Water Authority can look forward to the same oral health benefits that fluoridated water provides to almost 75% of other Americans served by community water systems. Congratulations!