Fluoride Action Network

Aurora: Fluoridated water vote an issue of health vs cost

Source: Aurora News-Register | October 8th, 2008 | By Nick Benes
Location: United States, Nebraska

The issue of fluoride can be as simple as deciding if improved dental health is worth the steep price tag of installing and maintaining changes to the water system.

But it isn’t that simple.

Fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral that helps prevent tooth decay, can be found in products such as toothpaste.

The compound is also injected into the water systems throughout America. According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, two-thirds of Americans drink fluoridated water, including those who live in Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney.

But because not enough is naturally-occurring in Aurora’s water system to be effective, the city would have to begin injecting the compound before June 1, 2010. LB 245, which passed 31-4-14 on April 17 in the Nebraska Legislature, requires all communities with more than 1,000 residents to inject fluoride into the water unless those residents vote by simple majority to option-out of the requirement.

Whether or not Aurora joins the likes of those cities will be decided by voters in November.

The catch to injecting fluoride into Aurora’s water is the price — about $270,000 to start and install the system, according to water/sewer commissioner Rick Melcher. That doesn’t include the $112,500 to maintain the system for the first five years, assuming the city’s water use doesn’t change.

For the complete story, see this week’s issue of the Aurora News-Register.

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Note from FAN: The Aurora News Register is published in hard copy once a week on Tuesday. This article went online Wednesday, Oct 8, 2008.