BREVARD COUNTY – Mims residents will have a chance to vote on whether or not they would like to continue to have fluoride in their water.
A public meeting was held on June 21 at the request of many local dental representatives. Residents heard arguments of both supporting the use of fluoride in the water, and potential risks.
The county commissioners voted to remove fluoride from the Mims water system May 4 in a unanimous decision.
A crowd of over a hundred people filled the the Cuyler Park Community Center with information from the American Dental Association (ADA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the potential dangers of removing fluoride from the water which can increase changes of tooth decay, cavities and other oral hygiene problems.
Dr. Angela McKnight, president of the Brevard County Dental Society (BCDS) and practicing orthodontist, introduced a panel of dentists in favor of restoring water fluoridation to the area of North Brevard.
The BCDS is comprised of 163 county dentists.
“This topic was not on the agenda, no advance notice was given, and no expert opinion was brought in. The Brevard County Department of Health was not consulted, no community input was sought from Mims residents” said Ms. McKnight.
On May 13th fluoride was ceased throughout the city water system.
“We are very concerned about the impact of removing community water fluoridation will have on the health and well-being of Mims residents,” said Ms. McKnight. “Our mouths are a gateway to our bodies and community water fluoridation keeps our bodies healthy,
County Commissioner, Rita Pritchett, helped to organize the meeting and has opposed the use of fluoride in her drinking water. However, concerns from residents prompted her to apologize for not gaining community input. Some studies have shown that long-term exposure to fluorides could contribute to health care concerns like thyroid disease and some forms of cancer. However, no conclusive data has made direct connection.
Public comment was minimal after an overwhelming presentation by members of varying dental practices. Several residents expressed regret over the handling of the shut-off, but were decidedly indifferent about potential health effects.
Residents will receive a ballot in their July water bill and can decide for or against water fluoridation. Ballot are to be mailed no later than Aug. 6. Postage will be provided by the county.