Is Water Fluoridation Cost Effective?
When we ask if water fluoridation is cost effective, we are asking: Does water fluoridation save more money than it costs.
In California, most often a water district’s fluoridation infrastructure costs are covered by grants from one or more charitable foundations. In some cases fluoridation grant contracts have required a 20 year obligation that the water district continue fluoridation at the district’s own expense, or else to be required to repay the initial grant.
Although California law forbids unfunded mandates, beyond fluoridation infrastructure, all costs for mandated fluoridation projects are borne by taxpayers and ratepayers.
The cost of initial reports and studies concerning a proposed water fluoridation project, public relations contracts and associated staff time, is borne by the water district, or the associated city or county. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors’ four year consideration of fluoridating water provided through the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) cost the County over one million dollars before the fluoridation proposal was shelved indefinitely.
California law requires the Public Utilities Commission to raise water rates to cover the ongoing costs of water fluoridation, including purchasing the chemical, hiring additional staff, paying for additional insurance, safety training and protective gear, and frequent replacement of corroded pipes and equipment.
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Promoters of fluoridation, including public health officials and professional bodies, assert that “Water fluoridation is effective, fluoridation is cost effective, and fluoridation is safe.” Dr. Paul Connett recommends 10 Key Papers that Challenge Pro-Fluoridation Assertions.