Fluoride won’t be added to Wildwood’s water supply after commissioners passed Monday on an opportunity to become the first Sumter County city to add it.
For decades, fluoride has been valued for preventing dental cavities, especially in children. It is used in Ocala and has been used in Leesburg.
Commissioners voted 3-2 not to invite Dr. Sanford Zelnick, Sumter County public health director and a fluoride proponent, to a future meeting to discuss the issue.
The vote came after a clash between Commissioner Joe Elliott, who made the motion to invite Zelnick, and Mayor Ed Wolf.
Elliott said 54 percent of Sumter County children examined at school in 2018 had visible cavities and fluoride has been found nationally to reduce them by 40 percent.
“Fluoride is probably one of the most misunderstood treatments we have,” he said. “When over 50 percent of the kids in schools have cavities, (the system) is broken.”
Wolf said he opposed adding fluoride, especially at an estimated cost of $930,000.
“It needs to be addressed in the schools,” he said, possibly through mouth wash and not by giving fluoride to the entire community. “I don’t think that kids are drinking a whole lot of city water. I think the risk is more than the reward”
Commissioner Julian Green said he supported adding fluoride in the past, but now thinks it should be targeted to schools. He seconded Elliott’s motion to invite Zelnick.
Utility director Mark Odell said using fluoride involves handling a very dangerous chemical and is “not worth the risk” of injecting too much fluoride in the water supply, which can cause health problems. He said a lesser amount of fluoride already is found in Florida’s aquifer.
*Original article online at https://www.villages-news.com/category/about-the-villages/