The costs for fluoridation are a fraction of the dental health costs. It's far cheaper to fluoridate the water than to deal with the costs of cavities and poor dental health.
The Legislature is considering a new bill, and the usual suspects are lined up against it - citing costs and claims that fluoridation can lead to other diseases.
In New Jersey, water providers typically serve several towns, meaning that all must agree to fluoridate their water — and typically they do not.While some communities have stopped fluoridation nationally - it was because of costs, not because the science didn't support fluoridation.
Opponents and supporters of the fluoride legislation believe it has a higher chance of passing this year, in part because it has bipartisan sponsorship. Gov. Chris Christie has not said whether he would sign the bill if it passed.
The state’s League of Municipalities has opposed the bill, concerned about the cost of what it calls an unfunded mandate. The New Jersey Utilities Association testified against it, arguing that it “is known to have adverse health effects in certain quantities” and that it would cost water companies anywhere from $400,000 to $64 million.
“We think the cost benefit is not there,” said Karen Alexander, the president of the association.
Many opponents say their information has come online, from national groups like the Fluoride Action Network and Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, which argue that fluoridation would cost $5 billion statewide. On their Web sites, the groups argue that fluoridation would lead to fluorosis, a rare staining of the teeth. They say fluoride has many adverse health effects, including bone cancer, and no proven benefit.
But public health officials say that the National Academy of Sciences examined the studies linking fluoride to lowered I.Q. and could not substantiate them. Similarly, two large and recent studies, one from Harvard and the National Cancer Institute, the other in California, found no link between fluoride and bone cancer. Fluorosis in the United States, they say, tends to be barely visible.