The Village Council of Wellington made an unanimous decision to add fluoride into its public water system after a four-hour discussion from opposing and supportive sides of the issue Tuesday night.
Wellington voted to stop fluoridating its water in 2014, but decided to bring the topic up for another vote.
With about 50 people in attendance, speakers had the opportunity to voice opinions in an allotted three-minute time frame.
“Water fluoridation is still necessary in this day in age with systematic reviews that show that when you start fluoridation in an area, cavity rates drop almost 29%,” said Johnny Johnson, Dentist and President of the American Fluoridation Society.
The opposing side’s main debate centered around the right dosage, afraid that if not monitored, it could be detrimental to one’s health.
“If the dosage is way high which nobody is talking about doing you can get discolored tooth enamel, or dental fluorosis,” said Douglas Woersching, Florida Department Health of Palm Beach. “Again, nobody is talking about putting in 5 parts per million, if their point is we can’t trust the water people to do it right, that’s another issue.”
Naturally, fluoride occurs in the county’s water supply at 0.2 milligrams per liter. Before 2014, the county’s fluoridation system used 0.68 milligrams per liter, below the maximum approved amount of 0.7 milligrams.
Laurence Grayhills, President of the Florida Academy of General Dentistry emphasized that years of research has shown no problematic effects and probably about a 25 percent reduction in cavities in children.
“The thing is from a public health standpoint or from any kind of health standpoint it’s always better to prevent a disease rather than try and catch up and cure it,” Grayhills said. “So by putting fluoride in the water is a very proactive measure to prevent decay.”
Carol Kopf, Media Director of Fluoride says that no one in Wellington is fluoride efficient.
“Fluoride is a drug regulated by the FDA but the FDA never approved for ingestion, the water supply should never be used for a vehicle to drugs,” Kopf said.
Each member of the council made it a point to say that they were using scientific evidence to back up their decision.
“It was significant to me that every local dentist who came and spoke here tonight as well as most pediatricians spoke in favor of fluoride and my kids doctor as well as their dentist are in favor of fluoride. Those are people that I entrust for the safety of my own kids,” councilman Michael Drahos said.
Mayor Anne Gerwig said, “As a mayor I want to do everything right and I’m doing my best to do that.”