Mims residents used public comment time during Tuesday’s commission meeting to complain not only about the policy decision itself but also the process chosen possibly to reverse it. A ballot went out to Mims water customers with their July water bills asking if they would choose to reinstate fluoride in the drinking water. If a two-thirds supermajority of customers votes to reinstate the fluoride, it will resume.
Some suggested the two-thirds majority threshold was chosen to make it more difficult than necessary to reverse the decision.
“Aren’t our commissioners voted in with just a majority vote?” asked longtime Mims resident Lisa Mosier.
Mosier said she was frustrated with the unilateral decision by the County Commission to remove fluoride from the water with no public input and now the seemingly uphill battle to undo the policy.
“Now a can of worms was opened because of your flippant attitude, Commissioner Pritchett,” she said. “I wonder how you would have reacted if it had covered Cocoa water, which applies to more people.”
Dwight Seigler, a Mims resident and a former County Commission District 1 candidate who ran against Pritchett asked Commissioners to have a meeting and vote on reinstating fluoride rather than having customers vote through their water bills.
“You know that’s just not fair. In your heart, you know it’s not fair so let’s do the right thing,” he said.
Pritchett held a town hall in Mims last month to explain her decision and said she doesn’t see it as government’s role to make health decisions for constituents.
“As for roads and bridges that’s different. But I don’t think we should impose things you ingest into your body,” she said.
A group of dentists was also on hand to again challenge that view and voice concern that removing fluoride for the North Brevard community of about 8,000 people would have devastating effects on the dental health of residents.
Dr. Jim Antoon helped bring fluoride to Mims back in the 1990s when community water fluoridation was introduced originally.
“Thousands and thousands of studies that say it’s safe,” Antoon said, listing dozens of medical associations and institutions that advocate for fluoride. “Why would they do that?”
Dr. Kevin Hachmeister, dental director at Brevard Health Alliance, discussed how part of his job is to provide dental care to underserved communities where people are less likely to have access to health insurance. .
“The most underserved place is Mims. You could not have picked a worse place to remove the fluoridation. I want to make sure they have a voice because they didn’t have one on May 4.
The CDC has said fluoride in drinking water, at levels recommended by public health agencies, has proven to be a safe and effective way to reduce cavities by up to 25% in children and adults.
Water fluoridation is supported by virtually every major public health and dental organization, including the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization.
Pritchett has apologized for her decision to remove the fluoride from Mims water without community input but stands by her idea for remedying the situation.
In the 1990s, Mims residents voted in favor of community water fluoridation by over 70% and—if they want to maintain the practice—Pritchett said they will resume fluoridation if they do so again.
She has cited her own person health difficulties, which she said are exacerbated by fluoride, in her decision to remove fluoride from the water. In Titusville, where Pritchett lives, she was unsuccessful in asking City Council to remove fluoride from the city’s water.
*Original article online at https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2021/07/07/dentists-press-pritchett-county-commission-fluoridation-mims/7884351002/