Commissioner Neil Brickfield trial-balloons referendum on fluoride issue

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It has been a hot topic for a while now as Pinellas County is making plans to stop adding fluoride from its county drinking water supply. Despite much debate from both sides of the fence arguing for fluoridated water and against fluoridated drinking water, those who are against it have been winning this battle. There is no evidence that this decision has any chance of changing.

Today, Pinellas County Commissioner Neil Brickfield made a motion to put a referendum proposal on a future agenda for the commission to discuss the water fluoridation issue. However, the motion died for lack of a second.

According to Brickfield, voters should decide whether the county should add fluoride to drinking water. Yet, the commission would not even vote on whether to hold a public vote on the issue.

The 4-3 vote from county commissioners came following pleas from many dentists and health officials advising commissioners that fluoride reduces dental problems and lowers costs to the county for public dental care.

Yet, those opposed to fluoridated drinking water made their case, too, including the estimated $205,000 a year that it costs the county. Opponents also cry out that water fluoridation forces the public to take in medication against their will. Some even believe that fluoride is little more than a byproduct of the aluminum and phosphate mining industries.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers water fluoridation one of the greatest public health achievements of the century, dating back to the 1940s. Additionally, federal and global health agencies and medical groups say water fluoridation is healthy with the right dosage, helping to prevent tooth decay. Yet, the CDC also recommends lower dosages of fluoridated water, especially for infants to prevent fluorosis—faint white spots appearing on teeth.

Dr. Christopher Beach, dentist with the Pinellas County Health Department said, “Fluoride is safe, efficient and cost-effective.”

“We are going to the backwoods of urban counties with this move,” said Commissioner Ken Welch.

In the end, no matter what public opinion or professional opinions may be, Pinellas County water will not contain fluoride in the near future.

Residents in St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Dunedin and Belleair will not be affected by this change as they use city versus county water supplies.

Via Daphne Street.  Daphne can be reached at dts.streetmedia@gmail.com.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.