To save money BexarMet stops adding fluoride to water


by Brian New / KENS 5

Posted on October 4, 2010 at 6:11 PM

In an effort to save money, some dentists say the BexarMet Water District is putting its customers' health at risk and violating city law by doing it.

BexarMet provides water for more than 90,000 customers in and around the county but will soon no longer provide water with added fluoride.

"There is no question that fluoride is effective," said Dr. Gregory Bowen, D.D.S.

For decades studies have shown fluoride added to tap water can decrease tooth decay.

Ten years ago, San Antonio passed an ordinance requiring water providers to add fluoride into its systems.

This makes the BexarMet board's vote to end its contract with its fluoride provider puzzling and, perhaps; even against the law

"From my understanding the city is taking a look at it.  We're also taking a look at it," said Bexar Met spokesperson Mike Lopez.

Lopez said the reason board members voted to end its contract with its fluoride provider was to save money.

The price BexarMet pays for fluoride has quadrupled in recent years.

Adding it into its system this year would cost $110,000.

"I am a tax payer and believe me I don't want my taxes going up one more penny,” said Dr. Bowen. “But this is penny wise- pound foolish."

The San Antonio dentist said the price of fluoride pales in comparison to what it will cost to fix all the decaying teeth as a result of not having it.

At $110,000 a year, the cost works out to a little more the ten cents a month per BexarMet customer for fluoride.

However for the financially strapped water provider, Lopez said cuts need to start somewhere and that somewhere was fluoride.