Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

After no controversy, Plant City water fluoridation starts Friday

PLANT CITY — Fluoridated water, a bane for some across the bay, is getting a warmer reception here as officials get ready to add fluoride to the city's water for the first time on Friday.

The move will affect about 11,000 households.

Officials have talked for years about fluoridation but repeatedly put off changing the water system for budgetary reasons.

Utilities director Frank Coughenour said all that changed a couple of years ago when the city, with encouragement from Hillsborough County health experts, sought and received $386,000 in state and county grants.

The city chipped in $86,000 for construction and will pay another $30,000 to $40,000 annually for system maintenance.

Officials say it's worth it to derive fluoride's documented oral-health benefits.

"The Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention), the American Dental Association and the American Water Works Association have all endorsed it," Coughenour said.

But in Pinellas County, fluoridation has been a source of political infighting.

Under pressure from activists, Pinellas commissioners pulled their fluoride system in some areas more than a year ago, touching off a debate that lingered through last fall's election. A vote to scrap the system was reversed in November and fluoridation is set to resume Friday.

Except for a handful of calls and emails to City Hall, Plant City has seen little opposition to its fluoride plans.

"A group from California sent something in in protest of it," Mayor Michael Sparkman said. "They said it was terrible, but that's been about it."

Officials say opponents have objected to some municipalities' use of industrially derived fluoride, which will differ from the city's method of acquiring the material.

Coughenour said the city will buy fluoride mined in Spain and refined in Florida at Oviedo, northeast of Orlando.

The final product will arrive in liquid form to be added to injectors at four city water plants.

After officials flip the switch Friday morning, residents will get fluoridated water later in the day after it winds through the system.

As for taste?

"There won't be any noticeable difference," Coughenour said.

Rich Shopes can be reached at or (813) 661-2454.

After no controversy, Plant City water fluoridation starts Friday 02/27/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Search for missing Army helicopter crew suspended in Hawaii


    HONOLULU — Officials have suspended the search for five Army soldiers who were aboard a helicopter that crashed during offshore training in Hawaii last week.

    Water safety officials hand over possible debris from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash to military personnel stationed at a command center in a harbor, Wednesday in Haleiwa, Hawaii, a day after. an Army helicopter with five on board crashed several miles off Oahu's North Shore. Officials  suspended the search for five Army soldiers in a helicopter crash during offshore training in Hawaii on Monday. [Associated Press]
  2. Rubio praises Trump for 'excellent' speech on Afghanistan


    Sen. Marco Rubio praised President Donald Trump's "excellent" speech on Afghanistan. Sen. Bill Nelson was less effusive but agreed with the goal.

  3. Gov. Rick Scott blasts report of shifting words on Charlottesville


    Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most scripted politicians in modern Florida history, said Monday that "both sides” bear blame for Charlottesville.

  4. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer


    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  5. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry


    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.