BOLIVAR PENINSULA — Fluoride will be added to the public water supply on the Bolivar Peninsula by February.
The Bolivar Peninsula Special Utilities District board approved fluoridation in an 8-2 vote Tuesday night.
Two residents, including former board member Mac McDonald, protested the addition of fluoride before the vote.
In an interview, Karen Shobert said she was angered by the results and thought board members didn’t pay attention to her concerns.
“They don’t even listen,” she said. “They really could give a flip less because they already have their minds made up.”
Shobert, a peninsula resident since 2000, said she had her hip replaced in 1999 at age 49 due to osteoporosis.
She said her surgeon told her that her bones did not absorb the required amount of calcium because she had grown up in Abilene and Stanford, where she said fluoride levels were higher than normal.
“If you read the labels on toothpaste and mouthwash, it says ‘do not swallow — if swallowed contact poison control,’” she said.
McDonald, a resident since 1999, also mentioned the warning labels on toothpaste and other products containing fluoride.
“You’re not supposed to swallow it,” he said.
McDonald thinks the state may have another reason to push fluoridation, aside from the public’s health.
“It lowers Medicare costs if there’s less cavities to fill,” he said.
Shobert and McDonald cited the Internet as their main sources for fluoride information.
But Jennifer McKnight, the district general manager, said Tom Napier, a representative of the Texas Department of State Health in Austin, had given a presentation on the benefits of water fluoridation at a meeting June 12.
“The board discussed it and most of them talked to their own dentists or doctors,” she said.
“All who voted for it felt that, because the medical and scientific community endorses fluoridation, it was the right thing to do.”
People who consume water with fluoride levels of 4 milligrams per liter or more are at an increased risk for bone fractures, according to a 2006 report by the National Research Council.
The same report said that water with 2 milligrams of fluoride per liter or more may put children 8 years old and younger at a higher risk for enamel fluorosis, which causes discolored, pitted teeth.
The peninsula’s supply naturally has 0.1 milligrams per liter of fluoride, a number McKnight said would be increased to 0.8 to comply with Environmental Protection Agency standards.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports efforts to expand the nation’s fluoridated water supplies, although it warns that fluoride may pose health risks in extremely high dosages.
How they voted:
Houston Sliger, George Strong, Harold Guidry, Al Altemus, Lynette Johnson-Hardcastle, Eddie Oehlers, Roger Welch, Dennis Stafford
Mary Ellen Smith, Jack Blume