By David DeCamp
St Petersburg Times
(EXTRACTS) Pinellas County will stop adding fluoride to its drinking water, ending a cavity-fighting effort that riled critics of Big Brother government despite decades of advocacy by dental and medical experts.
After three hours of polarizing debate, the County Commission voted 4-3 Tuesday to halt fluoridation to about 700,000 residents of the county and most Pinellas cities. Public notices will go out this fall, and the practice will end shortly afterward.
Fluoridation costs the county about $205,000 a year.
Residents in St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Dunedin and Belleair will not be affected.
Pinellas County began adding fluoride to its water in 2004. Before that, it was the largest water supplier in the eastern United States that did not fluoridate its water.
“Fluoride is safe, efficient and cost-effective,” said dentist Christopher Beach of the Pinellas County Health Department.
But critics seized on recent concerns about too much fluoride having side effects on young children and tea party-style fears of forced government medicating. Some speakers Tuesday compared it to Soviet and Nazi practices and warned of cancer, reduced IQ and deteriorating bones.
“Fluoride is a toxic substance,” said tea party activist Tony Caso of Palm Harbor. “This is all part of an agenda that’s being pushed forth by the so-called globalists in our government and the world government to keep the people stupid so they don’t realize what’s going on.”
St. Petersburg fluoridates its water along with Gulfport’s, and Belleair and Dunedin use their own system. Tampa and Hillsborough County utilities also put fluoride in drinking water.
Read more at St Petersburg Times
See our Fluoride Page for a series of articles, books and films explaining why fluoride is a toxin that should not be used in the water supply.