Water fluoridation will begin again on March 1, 2013, for Pinellas County water customers — as well as customers of Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor and Tarpon Springs.
In October 2011, county commissioners voted to end the practice of adding fluoride into the area’s drinking water. The decision caused a heated debate among residents and led to a couple of cities, including St. Petersburg and Dunedin, to continue adding fluoride despite the decision.
Then, just over a year later, Pinellas County commissioners voted to put fluoride back into the water.
County officials say the level of fluoride will be adjusted to 0.7 parts per million — a level recommended for optimal dental health.
Water fluoridation is listed by the Center for Disease Control and the Surgeon General as one of the top ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that “if you live in an area with fluoridated water, fluoride supplements are not recommended.” Any questions should be directed to your health care provider.
Since the equipment for fluoridating the County’s water supply is already in place, officials say the annual cost for chemicals, equipment, maintenance and repair will be absorbed into current operating costs — an average of 25 cents per person per year — and will not require a water rate increase.