Fluoride vote represents victory for Santa Clara County health advocates

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Campbell, CA

The Health Trust applauds the board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District for unanimously adopting a policy to fluoridate its water system.

“This is great news, especially for children and older adults in Santa Clara County,” said Health Trust CEO Frederick Ferrer. “Thanks to the leadership of the water district board, children in our community will finally get the benefits of community water fluoridation, recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the greatest public health breakthroughs of the 20th century.”

In a 7-0 vote Tuesday morning, the board agreed to support fluoridation at the district’s three water treatment plants and three wells located in Campbell. A committee of the board will work with staff to implement the policy, including looking at sources of funding.

“We look forward to working with the water district to form an innovative public-private partnership to put a financing package together to make this policy a reality,” Ferrer said. “The first step will be to figure out how much it will actually cost.”  The water district estimates capital costs for the project would be between $4.4 million to $9.5 million.

The Health Trust, a local foundation dedicated to making Silicon Valley the healthiest region in America, is a leader in local oral health education and treatment, operating two Children’s Dental Centers and providing thousands of oral screenings each year. Several years ago The Health Trust identified fluoride as a county health priority.  Water fluoridation, shown to decrease cavities in children up to 40 percent, is the most cost-effective way to prevent childhood dental disease. It also has been shown to prevent tooth loss among older adults.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss, a leader in the movement for community water fluoridation, urged the board to adopt the new policy – and to dedicate district funds to the project.

“My hope is that you are going to act like part of this community and help with the funding,” she said.

Kniss, along with Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the Santa Clara County health officer, have been leaders in advocating for the passage of the fluoridation policy.

“We want to thank Supervisor Kniss and Dr. Fenstersheib for their efforts,” Ferrer said. “And we recognize FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, PACT, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the dental community for their tireless advocacy efforts on behalf of all Silicon Valley residents.”

About The Health Trust
The Health Trust is a nonprofit foundation that provides grants, services and advocacy to support its vision of Silicon Valley as the healthiest region in America through its three initiatives – Healthy Living, Healthy Aging, and Healthy Communities. For more information, visit www.healthtrust.org.

For more information contact:
Patty Fisher
650.224.9915 – cell