I have been organizing and moderating monthly Science Cafe discussions for four years, including discussion of hot-button topics like climate change and vaccinations. But in all those years, only one session has gotten so heated that I had to tell people in the audience to cool it: Public fluoridation of water.

The other Science Cafe organizers, Dan Marcek and Sarah Eck, thought it would be a dud when I suggested it as a topic. But they hadn’t seen the emails you get after writing about the subject, so they didn’t know. I found out years ago that you state that fluoridated water is a conspiracy by the government and/or chemical companies to poison the world, you’ll get flamed.

So I wonder what NH Public Radio will hear today after this report on a survey which puts New Hampshire near the bottom of the country in terms of percentage of population with access to fluoridated water: “The survey says less than 390,000 New Hampshire residents — less than half of the 834,000 people on public water systems — have access to fluoridated water.” About half the state’s population, including me, is on private wells.

In case you’re wondering, I think public water fluoridation is a good idea – a fabulous return on investment for public health . Yes, I now all the counter arguments, technical and philosophical, and realize that it’s possible to do fluoridation badly, but the balance is definitely in favor of The Government Forcing Us To Take A Drug, as a certain subject of opponents put it. Please note: if “rat poison” is any part of your comment, the Delete key will instantly go into action.


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