A divided Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to continue adding a small amount of fluoride to the county’s drinking water—ending a months-long debate spurred by one man’s campaign against the long-standing practice.
Supervisor Gary Skinner, who proposed taking a vote on the issue, said the county had invested a lot of time on the topic, adding: “I would like to vote on just keeping it the way it is.”
Board members voted 4–3 to continue water fluoridation, with Supervisors Greg Benton, David Ross and Paul Trampe voting no. “Here we are a government … and we’re going to dictate to our citizens what they’re going to ingest in their bodies,” Benton said.
Supervisors started debating fluoridated water last year amid a resident’s self-proclaimed “crusade” against the practice, which critics say amounts to “forced medication.” The vast majority of dental professionals consider fluoridated water a safe way to help prevent cavities, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control naming the 72-year-old practice one of the 10 “great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
About 96 percent of Virginians and 74 percent of the U.S. population get their water from public systems that add fluoride.
County officials have considered listing fluoride levels on water bills in response to feedback from some supervisors. It’s unclear if that proposal will move forward after Tuesday’s vote.