ORMOND BEACH — The city’s fluoride saga continues.
Commissioners Tuesday night voted against an ordinance that would have asked Ormond voters to decide whether the city should take the cavity-fighting material, in the form of hydrofluorosilicic acid, out of the water supply. The mail ballot election would have taken place in March 2013 and would have cost the city about $45,000.
But commissioners decided the cost was not worth it.
“I was frankly amazed when I saw the figures,” said Commissioner Rick Boehm. “As far as I’m concerned, this matter can wait.”
The ordinance would have repealed regulations set forth in 1957 requiring the city to fluoridate, if a majority of residents voted in favor of the measure.
Fifty-five years ago, Ormond voters chose by a 20-vote margin to fluoridate in the water.
But the debate has hardly subsided with medical professionals hailing public fluoridation as instrumental in the fight against tooth decay while opponents say the chemical can have devastating effects on the human body from causing fluorosis to dumbing down one’s IQ.
Earlier this summer, Commissioner Troy Kent launched a campaign to find answers to whether the hydrofluorosilicic acid being provided by Harcros Chemicals Inc. is safe, effective and necessary. Kent said his concerns were raised when the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention warned parents not to give fluoridated water to infants and lowered the optimum level of fluoride to be added to water.
So far, though, Harcros and 46 other chemical providers have yet to respond to Kent.
“They left me hanging,” he said.
But Kent agreed with Boehm and a resident who spoke at the meeting that the cost of having a special election was too great. He also said a mail ballot would likely get a low turnout.
“Most people throw away their mail,” he said.
Commissioners agreed to hold future workshops before bringing up the item again to be voted on during a general election.
Ormond Beach is among the latest cities to be ensnared by fluoride fever.
The City Council for Portland, Ore. — which had been one of the nation’s largest cities to hold out against fluoridation — voted to fluoridate the city’s water only to be rebuffed by a group called Clean Water Portland, which managed to put the issue to a vote in 2014. The Pinellas County Commission recently reversed a decision to take fluoride out of the water on the heels of two commissioners being ousted from office for voting to take fluoride out of the water.
Neighboring Holly Hill also had a referendum on public fluoridation in 2011. Voters soundly defeated the measure — with 71 percent of voters choosing to keep the city’s fluoridation program.
In other business, commissioners: …