Water companies in New Jersey will soon be required to fluoridate water, according to a bill passed Monday.
The Assembly Health Committee decided to pass the bill with an 8-0 vote based on the recommendations of dentists and public health officials. Environmentalists and utility officials, however, did not support the bill.
Since 2005 the New Jersey Public Supply Fluoridation Act hadn’t made it through for a full vote. Opponents of the bill had successfully raised concerns over the amount it would cost citizens to fluoridate their town’s water. They were also worried about the possible damaging health effects that may occur.
As of now, the water supply in New Jersey is a lower level than many states. There are only just over one million people of the nearly nine million residents that live in a community with fluoridated water. New Jersey ranks 49th in fluoridation level—only ahead of Hawaii—when compared to the fluoridation levels of other states.
According to information from the New Jersey Dental Association, the state saves $38 in dental and medical bills for every dollar spent on fluoridation.
One issue the opponents of the bill mentioned is the possibility of the low-quality fluoride that the water companies may use. These kinds of fluorides may contain harmful metals.
If the bill eventually becomes enacted, all utility expenses would be passed on to the customers.
The bill will move to an 80-member committee vote unless Assembly members attempt to block it.