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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DEC 18 Here's a story in Newsweek about the Bayou Corne sinkhole (warning: autoplay video here). It is a long, detailed, very comprehensive story. It's definitely more comprehensive than the local media coverage to date. There's a lot of information about the sinkhole (new information, really) but there's also a look at the phenomenon of "Cancer Alley."
DEC 18 A recent poll of possible gubernatorial candidates has Sen. David Vitter in the lead, Jeremy Alford writes on LaPolitics. He's polling at 25 percent, followed by Mitch Landrieu at 20 percent and Jay Dardenne at 12 percent. Here's what Jeremy didn't address: did Vitter interrupt his prayerful consideration to look at these results? The world may never know. Here's something else, that we will know, eventually: how soon before the first commercial mentioning the unmentionable airs?
DEC 18 Blogger Robert Mann has some advice for Governor Jindal: take your own. Mann pulls out some 2008 quotes from the governor on health care for the poor and contrasts them against the governor's more recent actions (or inaction) in the same arena. Part of the plan? Expand Medicaid. Wait -- what??
DEC 18 Here's a sweet post on Gambit by Ken Bode about the passing of George Rodrigue. Bode met the artist 30 years ago, and has a lot of funny stories about his friend. One of the best is how much George laughed over learning that President Clinton re-gifted a set of Blue Dog earrings -- to Ken Starr. The portrait Bode paints here is one of a man who loved life, and was constantly reminding the rest of us that we should, too.
DEC 18 Conservative blogger Rod Dreher doesn't usually agree with The Advocate (the national publication, which is the largest gay magazine in the country) but in this post he does. The Advocate, like Time, has named Pope Francis its person of the year. Punctuating that are some recent moves the Pontiff has made, including the removal of a vocally anti-gay Bishop from a position of power. As usual, Dreher gives us a lot of information and raises questions, encouraging readers to think it over. But he does agree with the Advocate's selection, calling it "a savvy choice."
DEC 18 Ever since a recall election put an end to the ongoing Deedy vs. Hootie saga over in Port Allen, the City Council has been working hard to prove all the problems didn't rest with former mayor, Deedy Slaughter, by failing to appoint her temporary replacement. Gov. Jindal was stuck with the job, so he picked a former mayor to take over the reins. Let's hope that lady is eating her Wheaties; she's gonna need the energy.
DEC 18 Blogger Tom Aswell seems to hear all the good rumors, and this one is a really good one: there's a plan to get Sen. David Vitter elected governor and then appoint Gov. Bobby Jindal to serve out the last year of Vitter's Senate term. Hey, that's a great idea, and if there's anything Bobby has made clear, it's that he would prefer to live in DC anyway.
DEC 18 If a Reveillion Dinner is part of your holiday tradition, this post in NOLA Defender is for you. The blog gives a list, including menus, of some of the best ones in the city. They've even got prices and numbers to call to make reservations.
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