Bay Minette, Ala. — North Baldwin Utilities will continue to fluoridate drinking water for about 7,000 subscribers in an area including Bay Minette, south to Spanish Fort and east to Stapleton, according to general manager Jason Padgett.
The NBU board of directors agreed to continue the additive Oct. 25 after receiving a positive report from a six-member panel of Bay Minette citizens charged with assessing health benefits of the chemical.
“The panel met over several months and I supplied the information they asked for,” Padgett said Tuesday. “Fluoride will continue to stay in the water and the group will continue to be active monitoring new medical studies about its use.”
Citing negative health effects, the board agreed in September 2006 to discontinue using hydrofluorosilicic acid.
The board’s announcement created a firestorm of protest from area dentists and the medical community, who said the additive is a cost-effective, safe means to strengthen teeth, especially in adolescents.
Following the community protest, the board agreed to continue usage until the panel reported their results.
Padgett said the discontinuation proposal was based on medical studies, many gleaned from Internet searches, stating potential health risks for senior citizens and infants. He also said discretionary fluoride consumption was available through oral supplements and tooth paste and mouth rinses.
The system began using the chemical in 1980.
NBU supplies all water to Bay Minette, White House Fork, Stockton, Tensaw, Rabun, Lottie and about 200,000 gallons a day to Spanish Fort.
The White House Fork system encompasses an area from Bay Minette east to Buzbee’s Fish Camp, Cliff’s Landing Road south to Stapleton.
As of Dec. 6, billed customers totaled 6,941, serving about 21,000 people based on an average of three people per household, Padgett said.