NH Governor Signs Infant Warning Bill into Law
On August 4th, 2012, the state of New Hampshire will become the first state to require fluoridating communities to warn their citizens about the fluorosis risk the additive poses to infants. This past week, Governor John Lynch signed HB1416, “an act relative to a required fluoride statement.” The law will require the following notice on all consumer confidence reports, which must be mailed to all water consumers, be posted online, and available at city halls:
“Your public water supply is fluoridated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if your child under the age of 6 months is exclusively consuming infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water, there may be an increased chance of dental fluorosis. Consult your child’s health care provider for more information.”
This new law is a proactive approach to reducing NH fluorosis rates by notifying parents about the risk posed to their infants by fluoridated water. Not only should the law cause more parents to take preventative action by reducing infant fluoride exposure, but it should also inspire them to question why this toxic substance is in their tap water in the first place if it isn’t safe for infant consumption. This marks a point when the State of New Hampshire has officially recognized that fluoridated water poses a risk to NH infants; a risk backed up by countless studies and a growing fluorosis epidemic that afflicts 41% of U.S. adolescents.
The legislation was opposed by more than a dozen groups, including the NH Dental Association, the NH Oral Health Coalition, Delta Dental, the American Water Works Association, the Municipal Association, and the NH Department of Health and Human Services. Even with this strong opposition from the well-financed dental lobby, the bill was still passed by the NH House by a vote of 253-23, and passed unanimously by the NH Senate. HB-1416 was also signed quickly by Governor John Lynch, rather than being approved without his signature, showing his strong support for this action.
This couldn’t have been accomplished without a team of open-minded and dedicated sponsors, particularly the prime sponsor, Representative Anne Cartwright (R-Alstead) who introduced the bill and championed it throughout the entire process. Thanks must also go out to those who testified in support of the bill (including FAN Director Paul Connett, who drove down from Canton, NY to testify before the Senate), and those who contacted NH legislators. It was a strong group effort, and we appreciate everyone’s help in showing the dental lobby that we plan on influencing future fluoride policy at the local-level AND the state-level.