BATON ROUGE, La. – On July 8, 2008, Governor Bobby Jindal signed SB 312, which mandates that community water systems statewide with at least 5,000 hookups provide cost estimates to the state for implementing fluoridation by March 2009. The state will then work with each system to find grants and state budget funds to implement fluoridation community by community.
The Louisiana Dental Association estimates that about 110 water systems and just under 2 million citizens will be affected by the new law. Communities can vote to opt out if 15 percent of registered voters sign a petition.
The bill was supported by a large coalition dedicated to bringing improved oral health to Louisiana citizens including the Louisiana Dental Association, the Louisiana Dental Hygienists’ Association, the Louisiana Maternal and Child Health Coalition, Louisiana Academy of General Dentistry, and several other organizations. The coalition contacted state legislators individually and to educated key groups about the safety and efficacy of optimally fluoridated water.
In 1997, a state water fluoridation advisory board was formed within the office of public health to encourage communities to fluoridate, but in a 10-year period, only two communities became fluoridated.