The Times-Picayune is holding up state Sen. Dan Claitor’s legislation making flouridation of municipal water systems in Louisiana impractical if not impossible as the “dumb bill of the week” in a Monday editorial.
Issues raised by Senate Bill 638 are not unfamiliar to residents in Lafayette Parish; it was one year ago this Wednesday that the Lafayette City-Parish Council voted 8-1 in support of a resolution against adding flouride to Lafayette Utilities System water, although in that instance flouridation was rejected not over health concerns — three dentists and a representative of the Louisiana Oral Health Program spoke in favor of adding flouride to water — but rather because of the cost of adding the chemical and because some council members viewed it as an unfunded mandate by the state.
Claitor last week told The Advocate that his bill is about making sure residents get adequate information about their water companies’ intentions with flouride by requiring water companies “to inform their customers of plans to fluoridate their water supplies and to forbid the purchase of the chemical additive from China.” The Times-Pic takes issue with Claitor’s expressed intention, arguing that the bill is a roundabout way of preventing flouridation through burdensome regulation:
Sen. Claitor’s bill attempts to tie fluoride to concerns about unsafe products from China. The bill says that any chemical or compound that’s been manufactured or packaged in China is deemed a public health hazard and prohibits its use in public water systems.
He’s raising a false fear. Alan Levine, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, points out that fluoride is heavy and costly to transport. Because of that, Louisiana water systems that fluoridate their water use chemicals manufactured in the United States.
But the bill could still hamper fluoridation. The federal government does not track the origins of fluoride, so the state would have to create its own tracking system. Secretary Levine said that would likely mean the state could not approve fluoridation projects. That would be a shame. While some people oppose fluoridation because they fear ill health consequences, the practice is supported by groups like the American Dental Association because fluoride prevents tooth decay.
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MAR 6 In this week's post, Jim Brown is remembering former Gov. Jimmie Davis, who was sworn in 70 years ago this week. Included in here is the governor's recipe for raccoon, which was his favorite dish, Brown says. He also tells us who "Sunshine" was - Jimmie's palomino. She's buried at the late governor's farm, Brown says.
MAR 6 Columnist James Gill applies his special combination of wit and sarcasm to our friend Don Briggs in this post. Gill read the oil and gas leader's deposition and almost felt sorry for him -- almost. The problem seems to be related to Mr. Brigg's "stupendous ignorance of his purported area of expertise," Gill writes. He also credits Briggs with doing more for the environmental cause in a couple hours than tree-huggers can accomplish in years.
MAR 6 If you're on the Facebook, you've seen this video of two NOLA police officers line dancing with some Mardi Gras revelers. But this one is even better: it's a NOLA police horse line dancing on Bourbon Street. Hey -- this is Louisiana. We all can get down, if the situation calls for it.
MAR 6 Here's some more new info on the continuing controversy at Louisiana College, this time posted on the Tennessean (so maybe this story is pretty interesting outside of Louisiana, too). The story, originally written by Town Talk reporters, tells us about a document with allegedly forged signatures which was sent to SACS, the organization which issues accreditation for southern universities and colleges. The plot thickens?
MAR 6 When one reads a story like this one on KATC about the person or persons unknown who stole a huge duck balloon, three questions come to mind. First, what kind of person steals a huge balloon used to advertise a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club? And second, how can that person drive off with a huge balloon -- and attract no attention at all? And of course, the biggie: what you gonna do with that?
MAR 6 If you're interested in how things might look in 20 or 30 years, here's a good indication. This post by a 19-year-old sophomore in the LSU Reveille is the first in a series about racism. Written by a white girl, it argues that we must discuss racism and acknowledge its existence. We can't pretend it doesn't exist anymore - because it does, she says.
MAR 6 LaPolitics is doing the math on the state's unclassified workforce, and it looks pretty good -- if you're part of it. The top 50 unclassified positions in state government are making a combined $17 million, LaPolitics reports. That's $3 million more than when Jindal took office. (It's also an average salary of $340,000 in case you're interested) What's really interesting is that a lot of these positions are related to college athletics. Huh.
MAR 6 What does Ash Wednesday in NOLA look like? Beaded trees. This Picayune story takes a look at one narrow aspect of the annual clean-up following Mardi Gras: the beads hanging from trees. It takes weeks for crews to remove the trash from the trees, the story tells us.
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