Gov. Pete Wilson ended decades of debate Monday, signing a bill that requires most public water systems in the state to add fluoride to their drinking water to fight tooth decay.
“It means kids in California have a fighting chance to have a mouth full of non-decayed, non-filled teeth when they’re adults,” said the measure’s author, Assemblywoman Jackie Speier.
Only 17 percent of Californians live in communities with fluoridated water, compared to 62 percent nationwide, ranking California 47th among the states.
Eighty-seven of the nation’s 150 largest non-fluoridated cities are in California, including Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento.
The measure, which takes effect Jan. 1, applies to all public water systems with at least 10,000 customers.