Commissioners targeted, ousted over fluoride votes - FOX 13 News

Commissioners targeted, ousted over fluoride votes

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  • Commissioners targeted, ousted over fluoride votesMore>>

  • No more fluoride in Pinellas water

    No more fluoride in Pinellas water

    Pinellas County Commissioners decided Tuesday afternoon to stop adding fluoride to the water supply. The decision came as a surprise because the county just started fluoridating water eight years ago, so it was considered a...
    Pinellas County Commissioners decided Tuesday afternoon to stop adding fluoride to the water supply. The decision came as a surprise because the county just started fluoridating water eight years ago, so it was considered a...
  • Dentists consider water fluoridation campaign

    Dentists consider water fluoridation campaign

    Some Florida dentists may be taking the debate over water fluoridation to Pinellas County voters.
    Some Florida dentists may be taking the debate over water fluoridation to Pinellas County voters.
CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

Public water supplied by Pinellas County could contain additional fluoride again by early next year. The issue has already been placed on the county commission agenda for November 20th, when two new commissioners will take office.

Tuesday, Charlie Justice and Janet Long defeated incumbents Nancy Bostock and Neil Brickfield, who were part of the majority of commissioners that decided last year to stop fluoridation.

Commissioner Ken Welch was on the losing side of that vote and was re-elected Tuesday by a wide margin.

"Fluoride was huge and it has been a question at every campaign stop, every forum," Welch told FOX 13 News. "It's part of civilization in most of the country and we need to go ahead and rejoin civilization."

Pinellas's dental community tried to "educate" anti-fluoride commissioners, then targeted them politically. Dr. Edward Busch, president of the Pinellas Dental Association, said it was not hard.

"We have patients who would come into our office that, regardless of political party, would say to us, ‘I cannot believe that fluoridation is being taken out of our county water,' " Busch said. "It worked out well for us because basically, we had dentists that stepped up, we had residents step up and the votes came in."

Busch said once fluoridation resumes, dentists have no interest in targeting the other two commissioners voting to end fluoridation. Norman Roche and John Morroni face re-election in two years. Morroni is the current chairman and placed the issue on the November 20th agenda. It is not clear whether he will now vote in favor of fluoridation.

Pinellas County did not remove the equipment used to add fluoride, but chemicals will have to be purchased and new policies will have to be put in place.

"I would think the vote would be December of this year, and we'd have it back in the water supply early next year," Welch predicted.

Dr. Busch said fluoridation should resume "As quickly as possible...the lapse that we have now in the water fluoridation that we had will affect people as of right now."

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