Florida county to stop putting fluoride in water supply

Pinellas County Florida's County Commission voted 4-3 on Tuesday to stop adding fluoride to its drinking water, The St. Petersburg Times reports.

According to the Times, the commission debated for three hours before voting to halt fluoridation for 700,000 area residents. The practice costs the county $205,000 a year. Public notices about the stoppage will go out in the fall, and fluoridation will end shortly after.

The county only began adding fluoride to its water in 2004, and despite the fact that dentists and health officials told the commissioners the practice reduces dental illness and lowers dental care costs, opponents of fluoride won the day.

From the Times:

...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."

On its website, the American Dental Association calls fluoridation "the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay." Around 72.4 percent of Americans with access to public drinking water receive optimally fluoridated water.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, calls water fluoridation as "one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century."