There’s a new debate in Collier County surrounding the fluoridation of drinking water and whether it causes adverse health impacts.
Some people say it should end. Others laud its benefits. And thousands of people across the county come in contact with it every day without realizing it’s there or understanding its intended purpose.
Barry Fuss, who recently moved to Naples from the sprawling retirement community known as “The Villages” — where the water does not contain fluoride — is hoping his new locale follows suit.
“It’s there, and we have to wake up and realize this is hurting and killing,” he said. “They know how dangerous it is. So I came down here expecting the same, only to find out they do fluoride the water.”
On the contrary, Florida Dental Association representative Dr. Johnny Johnson claims Fuss and the people like him who tote signs blasting fluoride don’t have a scientific leg to stand on.
“The issue is that fluoride is naturally occurring here in Collier County at .2 parts per million, 0.2, so it’s already present,” Johnson said. “There’s not a credible stitch of information or literature that supports their position.”
Fluoride, Johnson contends, not only prevents cavities in children and adults, but every dollar invested in fluoridation saves $43 a year in dental treatments for every person.
The Centers for Disease Control say water fluoridation is one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
“The science is crystal clear. It’s not a debate,” Johnson said. “It’s just a contentious issue and everyone is entitled to their opinions but not their own facts.”
Those like Fuss and others say it’s an outdated achievement, and that if people want to ingest fluoride there are plenty of voluntary ways to do so.
“It’s not necessary and I’m glad that they tabled it for another time,” said Karen Beatty of Naples.
The public can weigh in during the next Board of County Commissioners meeting on Jan. 26.