At least one Pinellas County government, the Pinellas Park City Council, has the good sense to put public health safety above irrational, ideological pandering. In exploring ways to restore fluoride to its drinking water after the Pinellas County Commission buckled to the forces of paranoia and ignorance and voted to stop adding it last year, Pinellas Park officials are standing up for science and the health of its least affluent residents.
In rejecting the widely accepted medical evidence of the benefits of fluoridated water, county commissioners Norm Roche, Neil Brickfield, John Morroni and Nancy Bostock sided with a vocal but ill-informed conservative minority. In Pinellas Park, which gets its drinking water from the county, a more enlightened City Council will begin discussions to return fluoridated water to its 49,000 residents. St. Petersburg and a handful of other local governments have their own drinking water systems and are still adding fluoride.
"We have a lot of children in our town who probably don't get the best dental care,'' Pinellas Park council member Jerry Mullins said. "(Fluoridated water) may be the only dental care they get.''
Too bad four county commissioners lacked Mullins' compassion and common sense. Implementing their own fluoridation program could cost Pinellas Park an estimated $108,000 in start-up costs with $70,000 in projected annual operating expenses. The city ought to send the bill to the county.