Clark County is the only county in Nevada required to add fluoride to its water supply but that could soon.
“Assembly Bill 193 would add fluoridated water in Washoe County,” said Assemblywoman Amber Joiner during an Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining Committee hearing Tuesday. Assemblywoman Joiner and Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle are sponsoring AB193. The bill would require all counties with a population of more than 100,000 to fluoridate water. The current law applies to counties with 700,000 or more which is specifically Clark County. “When it comes up fluoridation, people say ‘Oh we have enough in the water I don’t need those supplements for my kids.’ And they’re always shocked when they learn that we don’t.”
Several health professionals and child health advocates spoke in favor of the bill, including the Washoe County Health Department and Renown and Saint Mary’s hospitals. Those in favor say fluoridated water will improve the community’s oral health in turn helping its overall health. The more at-risk population that can’t afford may also benefit and prevent future pain or medical costs caused by cavities and other health issues.
There is plenty of opposition as well. The Truckee Meadows Water Authority says it does not take a stance on the health factors but has an issue with the cost of implementation as well as the lack of a vote from its customers. Assemblywoman Joiner argues that she was elected to represent the people and points to other public health measures that do not go to a public vote (i.e. restaurant inspections)
Frischeisen, originally from Germany, lives in Reno and is opposed to putting all chemicals into his body, including fluoride. He uses toothpaste with an alternative to fluoride and says it is one of the reasons he is so healthy.
“”If people leading or following the advice of their dentist then go ahead, but don’t put this into our water supply.”
He and others spoke at Tuesday’s hearing to share their concerns. People worry about fluorosis, also known as molted enamel, from too much exposure to fluoride. Some argue that with fluoride in the water (even with the amount monitored) that it would be difficult to tell how much you ingest because of fluoride in other sources of food and drink. Others point to research that says “fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children.”
Tuesday’s hearing was just about policy with Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining. The bill will go to a separate committee to discuss fiscal impacts such as community health savings versus implementation costs.
Washoe County voters rejected a measure in 2002 that would have added fluoride to the water supply. The Centers for Disease Control has named fluoridized water one of ten of the greatest public health achievements.