An area of Florida will begin to fluoridate its water again.
Pinellas County in Florida finally came to this conclusion after a heated public debate, grassroots education and advocacy from dentists, and voters’ rejection of two previous county commissioners. That’s all it took for the Pinellas County Commission to vote, 6-1, in favor of reinstating fluoridation to the county’s roughly 700,000 residents. The decision was made after three hours of public testimony for and against fluoridation.
The water fluoridation will take effect in March.
The issue began in October 2011 after the commission voted, 4-3, against fluoridating water. The original goal was to cut costs for the county but it developed into a debate about fluoridation.
Each side made its opinion heard, with dentists and dental societies in the area starting a grassroots program to inform people about fluoridation.
The tide turned in favor of fluoridating water when Republicans Nancy Bostock and Neil Brickfield lost their seats in the county commission to Democrats Charlie Justice and Janet Long. It was only a matter of time before the previous vote against fluoridation was overturned.
The issue will likely turn out as something beneficial for Pinellas County. The people are now more educated about the impact of fluoridation than they previously were. The debate about the positive or negative impact of fluoridation will continue for some people but the residents of Pinellas County don’t have to worry about it for now.