Florida Today by Alessandro Marazzi Sasson
April 11, 2021
Starting at 1 p.m. this Thursday, by order of the Brevard County Commission,the Mims water supply will no longer be fluoridated to the specifications recommended by public health agencies to prevent cavities.
The announcement of the decision comes one week after a snap unscheduled commission vote, raising questions about whether the surprisemove runs afoul of Florida’s Sunshine Laws that require both adequate public notice and meaningful citizen participation in votes by elected officials.
The County Commission voted unanimously on May 4 to cease the addition of supplemental fluoride at the Mims Water Treatment plan which serves 8,000 residents in unincorporated areas in North Brevard. The vote followed a motion by District 1 commissioner and chair Rita Pritchett, who cited unsupported claims that fluoride had adverse health effects.
Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally occurring in water. But the practice of adding or reducing the level of fluoride to a recommended quantity, is widespread across the United States and has been heralded as one of the greatest public health triumphs of the last century due its significant role in reducing childhood and adult cavities. The practice is supported by the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the Florida Department of Health as well as the Brevard Dental Society and numerous other groups.
In Mims, the groundwater has a naturally occurring fluoride levels of 0.2 mg/L and is fluoridated to a level of 0.64 mg/L as it enters the distribution system, according to the county. The Florida Department of Health recommends fluoridating water to an optimal level of 0.7 mg/L.
Without the added fluoride the water reaching customers will revert to the naturally occurring level of 0.2mg/L which experts say is fairly average but insufficient to provide substantial health benefits.