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Nebraska town supports fluoridation

State law requires each community to vote on implementation

Gretna, Neb.—Voters in the town of Gretna (population: 5,000) May 11 narrowly defeated a measure to opt out of a state fluoridation law.

The vote was 266-258, and voters in the small east central Nebraska town had to vote "no" to implement fluoridation.

Gretna was one of six Nebraska communities that voted on fluoridation last month, and the only one that voted to allow fluoridation to be implemented.

Since Nebraska passed an unfunded statewide fluoridation law two years ago, 67 communities have had to either implement fluoridation or introduce a ballot measure by June 1 to opt out, said David O'Doherty, executive director of the Nebraska Dental Association.

"It is difficult to know the reason why voters in each community defeated the measure," said Mr. O'Doherty. "It could have been cost since this was an unfunded state mandate, scare tactics from antifluoridationists, or perhaps confusion with the ballot language since it required a 'no' vote to approve fluoride."

With all the votes counted, the effect of the state mandate will be to increase the number of its citizens receiving fluoridated water by 20,000, to more than 101 million, or more than 71 percent of the population.