Expert after expert implored city commissioners to continue adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water, brushing aside concerns raised by a resident about potential health hazards.
State Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, was one of the speakers last week representing “my dear profession of dentistry.” He said he was “appalled” at the suggestion that the city stop putting fluoride in water.
“I know there continues to be a small but vocal group of people who are well intentioned but grossly misinformed who tell all sorts of wild stories about suggested negative effects of fluoride,” he said. “While I do respect their right to be heard, I can tell you the evidence is overwhelming to completely debunk their assertions.”
After a nearly hour-long meeting on the subject commissioners unanimously stated their desire to continue using fluoride.
This week, the Florida Department of Health in Lake County applauded the decision.
“This is an effective way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases, dental decay, and promote good oral health,” administrator Aaron Kissler said.
Hays had warmed commissioners that ceasing the fluoridation of water would be a “blatant rejection of your duty as public servants.”
A resident who complained July 2 about possible health concerns prompted Commissioner Linda Bob to seek a workshop on fluoridation. Bob said “I had no doubt” the city was doing the right thing but she wanted the city to respond to fears about fluoridation.
The resident also appeared last week and questioned whether fluoride was affecting bodily organs.
Mayor Michael Holland indicated it was an easy decision.
“When I look at the poor people of this community — and there are lot poorer people than there are wealthy people in this community today — we’re doing the best for them, and I think to pull the fluoride out of the water would be a big, big mistake for this community,” he said.
The issue last arose in 2005 amid similar fears. Commissioners decided to continue the practice then, too.