Email letters, February 17, 2015

Community water fluoridation made strides in preventing cavities

Children’s Dental Health Month is the opportune time to celebrate the strides we have made in preventing cavities through community water fluoridation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has praised water fluoridation as one of “ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.”

Fluoride exists naturally in nearly all water supplies. Water is “fluoridated” when a public water system adjusts the fluoride to a level that is found to prevent tooth decay. Research shows the long-term benefits of fluoridation. A 2010 study found that the fluoridated water consumed as a young child makes the loss of teeth (due to decay) much less likely even 40 or 50 years later – when that child is a middle-aged adult.

The research supporting water fluoridation is solid – and recent. Within the past few years, several new studies have continued to demonstrate fluoridation’s positive impact. Here’s one example. A 2010 study in Nevada examined teenagers’ dental health and found that living in a community without fluoridated water was one of the top three factors associated with high rates of decay and other dental problems.

The leading health and medical organizations support water fluoridation. This list includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dental Association, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. We can trust their knowledge and expertise. Fluoridation saves money. Research shows that every $1 invested in water fluoridation produces savings of $38. Families and taxpayers save money because people avoid paying the cost for more fillings and other dental treatments.

Water fluoridation helps to improve oral health for people of all income levels and racial/ethnic backgrounds. In fact, a 2002 study called water fluoridation “the most effective and practical method” for reducing the gap in decay rates between low-income and upper-income Americans. Anti-fluoride activists have no evidence proving that fluoride is harmful at the level used for fluoridating water. They will make all kinds of claims, but the science doesn’t back them up.

Fluoridation is a smart health strategy – even today, when nearly everyone brushes with fluoride toothpaste. Research proves that drinking fluoridated water reduces the risk of decay. At a time when more than 100 million Americans lack dental insurance, fluoridation offers an easy, inexpensive preventive strategy that everyone benefits from simply by turning on their tap.

DEBORAH FOOTE
Executive Director
Oral Health Colorado
Nederland

Guns not the cause of suicide, nor do they cause anyone to do anything

Being a gun owner, and sometimes cranky, I thought I would reply to the You Said It comment in Sunday’s paper. I’ll over look the racist and sexist part of the comment about “white guys,” and deal with the suicide aspect.

Suicide is a serious issue, but guns do not cause it, any more than knives, prescription drugs, speeding cars, or Cold Shivers Point causes it. A person who is determined to commit suicide will find a way.

There is nothing magical about guns; they do not cause anyone to do anything. In over 30 years of gun ownership, my guns have never urged me to harm myself or anyone else. In fact, they have never spoken to me at all. My gun-owning friends also report this lack of conversation.

As far as a local range offering a discount on Valentines Day – shooting with your sweetie, or any other family member, is harmless fun and is to be preferred over some of the activities we see on the front page of the Sentinel or in the blotter section.

STEVE NEFF
Grand Junction

Those in North Fork and Delta County seem to be against all energy development

Most of the people in the North Fork Valley and Delta County seem to be against drilling. However, we don’t see any solar or wind farms going up, so this must mean they are against energy development. But wind and solar farms chew up a lot of useable land for a very long time. They’re not very pretty either. And of course this letter makes me a bad guy.

CURT CLAUSSEN
Grand Junction

Issues of vital importance to society at stake in the way marriage is defined and managed

In Sunday’s Sentinel, local lawyers commented on a recent editorial criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court for refusing to stay a Federal court’s decision overturning Alabama’s voter-approved affirmation of traditional marriage. They called the Sentinel “cavalier about the rule of law and due process.” While the Sentinel may have been wrong about the Supreme Court’s established practices in granting stays, the concern expressed in the editorial about the way courts have taken the marriage issue out of the hands of the states and their voters is well-founded.

The rapidity with which courts across the country have taken it upon them to transform the common – one could say the only – conception of marriage that has endured for centuries until very recently is stunning. The removal by judges of this question from legislatures and the people amounts to massive intrusion by the courts into legislative territory and thus seriously supplants the rule of law with arbitrary judicial fiats.

The question now before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether traditional marriage violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment because it denies legal and social benefits to homosexual adults in committed relationships. One must ask on what rational basis the state or society has any interest in who gets married. If equality is the decisive basis on which appeals to the courts are based, how can any combination of persons in consensual relationships be denied the benefits of marriage? How can any restraint on equal access to marriage be constitutional?

Some say the state has no business regulating intimate relationships. But almost everyone sees a vital linkage between societal health, on the one hand, and the health and well-being of families and children on the other. Whether homosexual marriage serves society’s vital interests is a question that should be decided in the various state legislatures. The courts should not simply override the legislatures and rubber-stamp as unconstitutional (because unequal) the traditional definition of marriage and summarily deny or ignore its rational bases. The point is that issues of vital importance to society are at stake in the way marriage is defined and managed – issues that need to be debated and determined legislatively with minimal judicial intervention. In this way the public’s faith in the rule of law would be maintained.

MICHAEL MECHAU
Palisade

Tipton’s latest update is another example of disingenuous rhetoric

“Tea Party Termite” Scott Tipton’s latest on-line “Update” continues his well-practiced technique of sticking disingenuous rhetorical “smiley faces” onto Republicans’ efforts to turn the federal government into “Swiss cheese” (or “drown it in a bathtub” of “red ink”) by regressively eating-away at its structural integrity.

This week, Tipton touts H.R. 636 – “America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015” – which presumes that undefined “small businesses” still need “tax relief” and gratuitously extends, expands, and makes permanent previously temporary “giveaways” enacted to stimulate post-Recession economic recovery.

What Tipton conveniently failed to mention is that the CBO estimates that H.R. 636 will cost (i.e., increase deficits by) almost $79 billion over the next 10 years – because the bill exempts itself from the otherwise applicable provisions of the “Pay as You Go Act of 2010” (which “Tea Partiers” like Tipton championed).

But there’s more. Tipton also touts H.R. 644 – the innocuously titled “Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2015” – which extends, expands, and makes permanent tax deductions for charitable foodstuff donations and increases deficits by another $14.2 billion – having previously cut the more targeted and cost-effective “Food Stamp” program.

Such cyncial duplicity prompted the non-partisan Tax Policy Institute to observe that Republicans “are talking tax reform [but] are walking tax deform. The more they vow to lower tax rates and eliminate targeted tax preferences (close loopholes in Congress-speak), the more bills they push to create new subsidies or juice-up old ones” – not to mention increasing deficits which they will later blame on Democrats.

Meanwhile, Tipton also conveniently ignores the Congressionally-established “IRS Oversight Board” recommendation that the IRS budget be increased by $1.157 billion – because it would improve service, generate $2.1 billion in increased enforcement revenue, and eliminate $360 million in fraudulent refunds, thereby “paying for itself” two-times-over.

Another “free pass” from the Sentinel?

BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction


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