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August 10, 2018

To fluoridate or not to fluoridate: that’s something on which New Jerseyans are divided. Thirty-four percent say that adding fluoride to water does more harm than good, although they’re outnumbered by those residents who believe fluoridation is a good thing (48 percent). The results are from the most recent Fairleigh Dickinson University poll.

New Jersey is among the states with the lowest levels of water fluoridation. Only 14.6 percent of residents here live in areas where fluoride is added to the water at a level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. As recently as 2006, 22.6 percent of residents here had access to fluoridated water.

Fluoride coverage in New Jersey is strikingly lower than in the country as a whole; 67 percent of Americans in general get fluoridated water when they turn on their taps. And, only Hawaii ranks lower than New Jersey for fluoridation (11.7 percent). In comparison, the figures for our neighboring states are: Pennsylvania (55 percent), New York (71 percent); and Delaware (87 percent).

Although the CDC characterizes community water fluoridation as one of the greatest public-health achievements of the 20th century, the FDU poll found strong skepticism of it nationally, with 43 percent of people believing that putting fluoride in public drinking water is a way for chemical companies to offload dangerous toxins into the environment.

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