Friday, July 20, 2018
Breaking News

Fluoride debate coming back to Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE — Having settled contentious debates about whether to keep their fire and police departments, Brooksville City Council members last week raised another controversial subject — fluoride.

The City Council voted 3-0 to pursue a referendum on the November ballot, asking the residents whether they want to continue adding fluoride to the city water supply. Mayor Betty Erhard, who faced no opposition in her re-election bid and recently won a second term on the council, brought up the topic.

When she ran four years ago, she called fluoride a waste of taxpayer money.

"How do you feel about fluoride in your water?" she posted on her Facebook page before last week’s meeting. "Every day, we are all exposed to many toxic elements in the environment, including fluoride, but we can make healthy choices to help limit our exposure to toxins. From November 21, 2013, through May 17, 2018, City has paid $18,942.36"

She urged citizens to come discuss the issue.

Vice mayor Robert Battista recalled sitting in the audience in 2013 when the topic last was debated.

"I wouldn’t want to sit through it again,’’ he said. "Put it on a referendum.’’

"I sat through hours of it,’’ Council member Joe Bernardini said. "I think we should let them vote.’’

Erhard agreed that a vote of the people was the right choice.

The city has added fluoride to the water since the mid-1980s, but stopped at some point. A debate raged for months in 2013 until the council agreed to put the fluoride back.

Brooksville won a 2013 Community Fluoridation Reaffirmation Award from the American Dental Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors in recognition of the city’s decision to reinstate fluoride in the city water supply.

Dentists and the CDC support the tooth-decay-fighting attributes of the mineral. But another camp calls fluoride a poison and demands that public utilities not medicate residents without their consent.

Pinellas County pediatric dentist Johnny Johnson frequently has entered into fluoride debates and was involved in the last discussion in Brooksville.

He sent city council members a letter last week offering to talk to them about the benefits of fluoride.

"Leading health and medical groups around the world endorse and recognize community water fluoridation as safe and effective for everyone, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, level of education or access to dental care,’’ Johnson wrote. "Not a single credibly recognized health or medical organization in the world opposes water fluoridation. Not one.’’

The Hernando County Commission debated fluoride in 2014, ultimately deciding not to add it to the county water system.

Brooksville began its fluoridation program in 1985 at the urging of several dental professionals, who said it would benefit children of low-income residents who lacked access to regular professional dental care.

Contact Barbara Behrendt at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

>>>Previous coverage:> After debate cut short Hernando commissioners refuse to consider>>

>>>Previous coverage:> After contentious debate, Brooksville reintroduces fluoride to water supply>>

Comments
Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome survived her first round on the PGA Tour at the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky., on Thursday, and she can't wait to do it again Friday.Though Lincicome shot 6-over 78 and will likely miss the cut — she ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Longtime Tampa Catholic athletic director Nick DiMaggio dies

Longtime Tampa Catholic athletic director Nick DiMaggio dies

Nick DiMaggio, the longtime athletic director at Tampa Catholic who was a fixture at the school's sporting events for more than 50 years, died Wednesday (July 18, 2018) from complications related to a stroke. He was 86."Nick was an icon, a walking en...
Updated: 4 hours ago
St. Pete residents storm City Council with allegations against Kevin King

St. Pete residents storm City Council with allegations against Kevin King

ST. PETERSBURG — At Thursday’s City Council meeting, seven residents called for the resignation of Mayor Rick Kriseman and Kevin King — one of his closest confidants — over allegations that King "preys" on homeless black men.Jesse Nevel, the vice pre...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Chickens remain free to range in Ybor

Chickens remain free to range in Ybor

TAMPA — Ybor City chickens have escaped the political chopping block — again.The Tampa City Council on Thursday declined to do anything about a wild flock of poultry that drew a loud, strong throng of supporters to City Hall to ask council members no...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Activists camp out in protest at Tampa’s Homeland Security, ICE offices

Activists camp out in protest at Tampa’s Homeland Security, ICE offices

TAMPA — The national movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency came to Tampa on Thursday night — and it’s in tents.Approximately 25 local activists gathered next to Cypress Drive in front of the local Department of Homeland S...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Marc Topkin: Rays should trade Chris Archer

Marc Topkin: Rays should trade Chris Archer

ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer wants the Rays to get going.Trade more veterans. Bring back Willy Adames and bring up the next group of kids. Get on with getting better, and get back to reaching the postseason, as they did four times over six yea...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays journal: Catcher needed with Wilson Ramos on DL

Rays journal: Catcher needed with Wilson Ramos on DL

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays did not have any answers Thursday about the state of their catching situation as to how long Wilson Ramos will be out and who will be added to replace him Friday against the Marlins.Ramos was placed on the DL Wednesday...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Police: Pinellas infant on life support after father stuffs balled-up baby wipe down his throat

Police: Pinellas infant on life support after father stuffs balled-up baby wipe down his throat

TARPON SPRINGS — Cali’yah Anderson heard a scream Tuesday night and she thought someone was dying. "Help me! Help me! I can’t get it out!" Anderson sprinted into the living room at 1410 Starlight Cove two doors down from her own apartment and found a...
Updated: 6 hours ago
St. Pete council votes advance Pier District construction

St. Pete council votes advance Pier District construction

ST. PETERSBURG — The controversy surrounding the proposed location of a Janet Echelman net sculpture on Spa Beach tinged discussions Thursday about an ordinance to amend definitions governing the city's active and passive parks.But an initially...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Dive outing among friends turns deadly Wednesday evening in Weeki Wachee

Dive outing among friends turns deadly Wednesday evening in Weeki Wachee

WEEKI WACHEEIt was the first time Said Marjane and his friends had gone free diving near the Eagle’s Nest, in a pool of water in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area in Weeki Wachee better known as the entrance to a dangerous cave-diving site....
Updated: 6 hours ago