Of course I voted in favor of fluoridation.
Some of my friends feel differently, and that’s fine, but I wanted to share my process for voting and why I vote the way I do, maybe in the hopes that it’s a process that’s useful to people.
When I heard a friend of mine was (vehemently) against fluoridating our water supply here in Portland, Oregon, I was confused. Wasn’t that the weird issue that came up in the 50s and turned out to be nothing?
But people were pretty upset about it all, so it seemed smart to do some research.
I think if someone is voting on a moral/ethical issue, they need to consider their values. If we were voting on gay or women’s or minority rights, I would turn to my values of egalitarianism and equality. If I were voting on a new education bill or policy around environmental standards, I’d be considering my beliefs and ethics around children and the environment, but I’d also try to figure out if enough good is being done to justify the costs of doing it.
No one seems upset about the costs of Fluoridating our water (it’s relatively cheap.) So it seems (to me) to be an issue of public health and science.
So, like any good voting citizen should, I researched.
I read this: http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/
and then this: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/01/20110107a.html
and then this: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/fluoride_drinking_water/en/
and this: http://www.quackwatch.com/03HealthPromotion/fluoride.html
and this: Fluoride Paranoia and Betteridge’s Law
(I also read some ardent anti-fluoride sites, which I’m not going to link … because I found them alarmist, undocumented and generally irrational. Google fluoridation, they’re easy enough to find.)
Anyway, from reviewing data, I found the issue considered, tested, safe and generally good for the community. A no-brainer.
I marked yes on my ballot, politely declined my friends’ anti-fluoridation invites and got on with the next issue.
It is my hope that if you haven’t voted yet, that you look at real research and data before you decide.
But regardless, when the vote is done, we will go one way or another. Personally, I hope the winner is choice that will help poor people and children live healthier lives, but we’ll get by either way.
Regardless of how they vote, my friends will still be my friends, and we’ll deal with our decisions the best we can.