…  the Port Orange City Council is asking whether it should be forcing an optional chemical like fluoride on its constituents.

… Last month, the council considered purchasing chemicals including hydrofluorosilicic acid, otherwise known as fluoride, to be added to the water supply. One citizen spoke out against it, leading the council to vote 4-1 to buy the chemicals as well as have a discussion on the city’s fluoridation policy.

“The question boils down to … is it right to force residents for their own good — to take something — to put in their water, something they don’t want,” said Councilman Bob Ford, the city’s former police chief.

Jason Yarborough, recently hired by Port Orange from Palm Bay to head the city’s public utilities department, pointed out the practice of fluoridation is relatively inexpensive, costing the city about three cents for every 1,000 gallons of treated water for an annual cost of about $60,000. The city also received a grant from the state Department of Health to replace its hydrofluorosilicic feeding system.

… Ormond Beach City Commissioner Troy Kent raised the issue after 47 fluoride suppliers — including Harcros Chemicals Inc., which also contracts with Port Orange — never answered him on whether the chemicals they provide are safe and effective for human consumption.

… About 68 percent of Volusia County residents have access to fluoridated water…

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