Cost of Water Fluoridation a Concern for TMWA Board

By Carla O’Day

drinking waterA bill introduced by two state lawmakers that would require the Nevada Board of Health adopt regulations mandating the fluoridation of water in counties with more than 100,000 residents concerns local officials.

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority board heard from its lobbyist, Steve Walker, on Wednesday about bills affecting the utility that are being introduced in the Nevada Legislature. State law currently requires fluoridation of water in counties having more than 700,000 residents. Smaller counties need approval of voters. Washoe County’s estimated population in 2015 was 446,903.

Assembly Bill 193 is sponsored by Assemblywoman Amber Joiner, D-Reno, and Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, D-Sparks. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining, and Walker said it could be heard or voted on before TMWA’s next regularly-scheduled meeting next month.

If approved by the full Legislature, TMWA would need to rehabilitate its plants and wells. The initial cost would be $70 million, followed by $3 million in annual maintenance fees, TMWA executive director Mark Foree said.

Doing this would mean an additional 8.8 percent rate increase for customers, which is on top of the three percent increase already expected in May.

“We tack on an eight percent increase and voters will take us to the shed,” Reno Councilwoman Neoma Jardon said.

The cost estimate was provided by an outside engineering firm, Foree said.

“I’m pretty neutral on the concept of fluoridation and I’d like to watch it myself,” Reno Councilwoman Naomi Duerr said. “But I’m not sure about this fiscal note.”

Voters in 2002 rejected WC-1, which would fluoridate the water system but Reno Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus noted that voting populations and communities change. However, it’s unlikely TMWA would get money from the state to meet requirements should this bill pass. Grants are possible but would make a minimal dent in the cost.

“I object to a state mandate,” Brekhus said. “Water shouldn’t be used as a medical delivery system.”

Sparks Councilman Kristopher Dahir noted that Clark County has a fluoridated water system and it must be benefiting residents there because it’s continuing.

“The state deciding against the voters is questionable but it’s important to look at the benefits,” Dahir said.

Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick urged the board to support the bill. There’s lots of misinformation about water fluoridation, just as people who are opposed to vaccinations put out misleading literature on shots, he said. Also, he said the automobile industry was resistant about putting seat belts in vehicles decades ago due to costs but seat belts have proven to save lives.

Kevin Dick
Kevin Dick, Washoe County Health District

“Fluoridation of water is proven to increase oral health,” Dick said. “It strengthens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay. The investment will result in great return.”

Some board members said they’ve spoken to constituents who oppose fluoridation of water or who’ve said they’re allergic to fluoride.

“There are 25 other allergens that are in toothpaste products that have been confused with being allergic to fluoride,” Dick said.

Ultimately, the board declined to support the bill as written because of cost and the decision of voters 15 years ago.

“The bill could change over time,” Duerr said. “Let’s leave the door open.”

Text of AB 193: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/Bills/AB/AB193.pdf

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Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 252 Articles
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.

16 Comments

  1. Water fluoridation has been linked to hypothyroidism, neurotoxic effects, lower IQs, behavioral problems and may even be linked to cancer causes. Officials may state there are lower levels of cavities in children teeth but studies show otherwise….why would we ever consider this but to line the pockets of those who sell fluoride!!!

  2. From a Total Wellness Newsletter dated August, 2006:

    Fluoride Fiasco Survives
    Another Decade
    For 60 years the controversy has raged over whether
    or not the government should have the power to add
    fluoride to municipal drinking waters. In the past, I’ve
    shown you how fluoride increases the risk of osteoporosis
    as well as bone cancers and other medical
    problems. In spite of enormous data, not surprisingly
    the powers that be are able to sweep evidence under
    the rug and carry on as though it never existed. And it
    really doesn’t matter how respected the investigating
    body is. Point in fact, the National Academy of Sciences
    this year publicized that many Americans are
    being exposed to an enormously high amount of fluoride,
    4 mg/ per liter. This leaves them at risk for
    flourosis that includes discolored, dull, gray, mottled,
    pitted and/or scarred teeth as well as weak bones, osteoporosis
    and brain and bone cancers.
    And fluoride doesn’t just attack those areas as other
    more subtle effects occur. Even the School of Public
    Health and Departments of Occupational Medicine at
    the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Medical School
    published last year more about the dangers of fluoride,
    since two thirds of the US population is forced to have
    fluoride in their water supply. In a 1998 Boston area
    study of children ages 7-11 years old, a walloping
    69% of them in a pediatric practice were found to
    have fluorosis. In another community in North
    Carolina 78% of the kids had it. Gray, dull and mottled
    or spotted teeth are very expensive to repair and
    require toxic acrylic glues for laminates which further
    load the body with damaging plasticizers. These in
    turn go on to damage fundamental body chemistry of
    crucial fats that regulate genes, all cell membranes,
    and most of body chemistry.
    Researchers have also shown that children, who have
    immature detoxification systems for fluoride, also get
    even more fluoride from swallowing toothpaste, and
    drinking sodas, reconstituted fruit juices and infant
    formulas that are made from fluoridated city tap water.
    Another major problem is that there is as much as a
    10-fold variation in the amount of fluoride in
    various US water supplies. Some are way above
    the safe level, and the level at the point of measurement
    may not be the same as the level at a particular
    household faucet. Furthermore boiling water as for
    tea, coffee and cooking actually doubles the fluoride
    concentration. Researchers are very concerned
    about the increased risk in children, in particular to
    their delicate developing brains, because they are
    much more vulnerable.
    Reverse osmosis and distillation certainly can remove
    fluoride. But as long as you have to spend
    money on making cleaner water for cooking and
    drinking, it makes more sense to me to have the
    Alkaline Water Machine so that you incorporate
    its additional antioxidant benefits (described in
    detail in The High Blood Pressure Hoax) as well.
    Meanwhile, this Wall Street Journal article shows
    how the powers that be have enormous capacity for
    ignoring over six decades of research by the most
    prestigious groups and are well into their seventh
    decade. That’s just one more reason why I’m dedicated
    to keeping you out of trouble as much as
    possible. The more options we all have for health,
    since we obviously can’t do it all, the more we have
    to choose from.
    ? Erdal S, Buchanan SN, Flourosis, fluoride exposure, and intake in
    children using a health risk assessment approach, Environ Health Perspect
    113;1:111-17, Jan. 2005
    ? Begley S, Government panel raises concern about fluoride. National
    Academy of Sciences call current ceiling unsafe, Wall Street J,
    D1, D3, Mar. 23, 2006

  3. Very recent analysis of the literature on fluoridation’s economic benefits shows it to range from 12% to over 13,000%. The larger pay back was found in larger water systems such as what is being considered in Nevada. Essentially no cases were found where the cost of fluoridation was greater than the economic returns in lower dental bills. Quite obviously these calculations don’t at all consider the lessened pain and suffering that the lower cost for dental work proves.

    Reference:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26776927
    Am J Prev Med. 2016 Jun;50(6):790-6. Economic Evaluation of Community Water Fluoridation: A Community Guide Systematic Review.
    Ran T, Chattopadhyay SK; Community Preventive Services Task Force.

    Someone should provide the cost estimate documents for scrutiny which are undoubtedly by law public records.

  4. STUPID STUPID STUPID…. With all the health problems associated with fluoride, and the ONLY health benefit “children’s teeth”.. this debate was settled long ago. The accumulation of fluoride in the body is cumulative (like radiation exposure) and resides in the bones. It is NOT good for ones health AND if one wants to do so, there are fluoride tablets, fluoridated bottle water, and may other means to pump this poison into your body.

    • All of America’s medical, dental and public legitimate professionals know that the concerns which are concerning you are in fact not important health matters. Fluoride is the 13th most common mineral in the earth’s crust. All living creatures have eons of exposure. That fluoride gradually increases in mammals bones is a fact of biology. Whales have absolutely spectacular levels because they eat and live in 1.4 ppm fluoride, double that what is optimal for drinking water. After 72 years of large population use, community water fluoridation has never been shown associated with skeletal harms. One well designed study found that optimal fluoride in drinking water was associated with fewer fractures . . a positively beneficial outcome.

      We can all have great confidence if there were realistic harmful health effects that the medical community would speak out against. In fact the opposite is the case. America’s pediatricians and other professionals are clear in their advocacy.

      A little four year old child had no real choice to decide to take fluoride supplements. Elderly people at high risk for cavities on exposed tooth surfaces may find it difficult to brush properly. Modern studies continue to show that there is are no affordable effective “alternatives” You, however, can easily choose to drink non-fluoridated water if you believe this to be important.

  5. No fluoride in my water! I do not believe it is the place of the government to make this heath decision for me. There is plenty of evidence that suggests ingesting fluoride is not healthy. Topical fluoride is the preferred method for preventing tooth decay.

  6. There should be a law to prevent one level of gov’t from mandating something that another level has to pay for.

    • David Green

      ……such as public schools and education requirements? Medicaid? Drinking water quality standards? Pollution control? Public health standards?…………..

      Steven D. Slott, DDS
      Communications Officer
      American Fluoridation Society

      • Everyone wants safe, clean water and not the added drug fluoride, which is actually industrial toxic waste (hydrofluosilicic acid) added without consent.

        The truth is spreading and people everywhere are learning that fluoride in drinking water is ineffective for teeth and dangerous to health. With any drug, we all deserve freedom of choice.
        Consider that 95% of the world rejects fluoridation:
        In the US, 74 % fluoridated (more than the rest of the world combined).
        In Europe, only 3%.
        In the world, only 5%.
        In Canada, now 30% — down from 45% in seven years.
        Over 219 communities have voted it out in the last six years (over 450 in 25 years).

    • Adding this highly toxic industrial waste, hydrofluorosilicic acid, from the filthy chimneys of the phosphate fertilizer industry is immoral, unethical, and should be illegal.

      Let those people who support fluoridation buy their own and drink it, and thereby save much anguish and misery for all other folks.

      Bottom line:
      A doctor or dentist cannot force fluoride or any drug on ANYONE. They would lose their license to practice if they did.
      It should be illegal for the government to force it on EVERYONE without consent. Use as much fluoride in your own glass of water as you like. Just leave the rest of us out of being forced to consume it.
      Adding this highly toxic industrial waste, hydrofluorosilicic acid, from the filthy chimneys of the phosphate fertilizer industry is immoral, unethical, and should be illegal.

  7. The cost-effectiveness of fluoridation is well documented by the peer-reviewed science. A savings of $15-$50, or more, per every $1 spent on fluoridation, has been clearly demonstrated in scientific studies. It is false economy, and foolishness to not take full advantage of this mineral in drinking water supplies.

    1. For most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs.

    ——“Cost Savings of Community Water Fluoridation,”
    U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
    Prevention, accessed on March 14, 2011

    2. A Texas study confirmed that the state saved $24 per child, per year in Medicaid expenditures for children because of the cavities that were prevented by drinking
    fluoridated water.

    —— “Water Fluoridation Costs in Texas: Texas Health Steps (EPSDT-Medicaid),
    Department of Oral Health Website (2000),

    3. A 2010 study in New York State found that Medicaid enrollees in less fluoridated counties needed 33 percent more fillings, root canals, and extractions than those in counties where fluoridated water was much more prevalent. As a result, the treatment costs per Medicaid recipient were $23.65 higher for those living in less fluoridated counties.

    ————-Kumar J.V., Adekugbe O., Melnik T.A., “Geographic Variation in Medicaid Claims for Dental Procedures in New York State: Role of Fluoridation Under Contemporary
    Conditions,”
    Public Health Reports, (September-October 2010) Vol. 125, No. 5, 647-54.

    4. Researchers estimated that in 2003 Colorado saved nearly $149 million in unnecessary treatment costs by fluoridating public water supplies—average savings of roughly $61 per person.

    ——O’Connell J.M. et al., “Costs and savings associated with community water fluoridation programs in Colorado,”
    Preventing Chronic Disease (November 2005), accessed on
    March 12, 2011

    5. A 1999 study compared Louisiana parishes (counties) that were fluoridated with those that were not. The study found that low-income children in communities without fluoridated water were three times more likely than those in communities with fluoridated water to need dental treatment in a hospital operating room.

    ——-Water Fluoridation and Costs of Medicaid Treatment for Dental Decay – Louisiana,
    1995-1996,”
    MMW
    US CDC
    September 3, 1999, accessed on March 11, 2011

    6. By reducing the incidence of decay, fluoridation makes it less likely that toothaches or other serious dental problems will drive people to hospital emergency rooms (ERs)—where treatment costs are high. A 2010 survey of hospitals in Washington State found that dental disorders were the leading reason why uninsured patients visited ERs.

    ——-Washington State Hospital Association, Emergency Room Use (October 2010) 8-12,
    accessed February 8, 2011.

    7. Scientists who testified before Congress in 1995 estimated that national savings
    from water fluoridation totaled $3.84 billion each

    ——Michael W. Easley, DDS, MP, “Perspectives on the Science Supporting Florida’s Public
    Health Policy for Community Water Fluoridation,”
    Florida Journal of Environmental Health, Vol. 191, Dec. 2005, accessed on March 16, 2011

    Steven D. Slott, DDS
    Communications Officer
    American Fluoridation Society

  8. Why would you spend the money to add fluoride to the entire water system when less than 1% of the water used is for drinking? 99% of the fluoride added to drinking water goes directly down the drain in toilets, showers, dishwashers, etc.

    So for each $1000 of fluoride added, only $10 is in water people drink, and only $1 is consumed by children. With only $1 out of $1000 going to the target, it is the most inefficient method of distributing a drug.

    What a waste of tax money. If you doubt any of this, ask your water manager.
    Giving away fluoride toothpaste is far cheaper.

    • What you’re asking, James, is High School Economics 101. Fluoride is added to the entire water system because it’s infinitely less expensive to do so.

      Fluoridation is simply the adjustment of the level of an existing mineral in water supplies such that maximum benefit is obtained when we ingest it. Fluoride is a mineral that has always existed in water, and always will, fluoridated or not. It has been observed that when this fluoride exists at a certain concentration level, maximum dental decay prevention occurs, with no adverse effects. Fluoridation does nothing except to add just enough identical fluoride ions in order to reach that optimal concentration level of 0.7 ppm.

      By taking advantage of an existing mineral in this way, a very valuable public health benefit is received by the entire population at a cost of less than $1 per person, per year. There is no more cost-effective manner available in which such benefits are obtained from this mineral.

      By your “logic” instead of adding chlorine to the entire water system, chlorine tablets should just be issued to each individual to drop into their glass of water each time they get ready to drink it. That way, 99% of that chlorine would not be “wasted” by going “directly down the drain in toilets, showers, dishwashers, etc.”

      Obviously, your “logistic” is in need of an overhaul.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS
      Communications Officer
      American Fluoridation Society

      • The 70 year old science of forced fluoridation is simply wrong and dangerous, but other big money schemes with the wrong science hung on for years, like tobacco, DDT, lead in gasoline, and asbestos. We eventually learned the truth.

        So, it will take some time to overcome the fluoridation scheme, but 95% of the world and 97% of Europe have already done so.

      • Do you really think that insulting the locals like this is how to win friends and influence people?

Comments are closed.