Return of the Anti-Fluoride Right Wing Loons
One of the craziest conspiracy theories pushed by right wing organizations like the John Birch Society is that fluoride in drinking water is a government mind control plot — and this deranged meme is making a big comeback in the Tea Party Era: Dozens show up at Pinellas County Commission meeting to talk fluoride.
The board voted 4-3 last week to stop the 7-year-old practice, despite warnings from dentists that fluoride in drinking water is safe and effective fighting cavities.
The majority — Commissioners Nancy Bostock, Neil Brickfield, John Morroni and Norm Roche — sided with fears of big government and fluoride-related maladies.
For the decision to be reconsidered, one of the four who voted in favor has to agree.
“I haven’t seen any evidence since last Tuesday to compel me to change my vote,” Brickfield said Monday, noting reports of improved dental habits and sources of fluoride elsewhere. “If we’re getting that much every day, why do we need to put it in the water?”
But dentist Edward Hopwood of Clearwater said the reasons for fluoride being added are clear: it helps prevent dental problems, and not just for needy children. Without the county’s practice at $205,000 a year, parents will pay $45 annually for tablets to supplement their children’s fluoride levels properly, Hopwood said. Hopwood is chairman of the fluoridation committee for the Upper Pinellas County Dental Association.
He and other dentists want the board to reconsider the vote, too. They — and fluoride opponents — are expected to speak out again, too. “This is not poor kids only. There’s plenty of middle class kids who have a need for this,” he said.
Hopwood said the board sided with a “radical” group of tea party activists who pressed the board to make the decision.
In an e-mail to commissioners, he wrote: “This is not a political issue, it is about right and wrong.”
Exactly, opponents counter in their own messages to the board.
“Water fluoridation is not much different than sending a fluoride Gestapo around every day to force everyone to take fluoride pills, it is unethical and doctors who advocate this are in violation of peoples rights and ethics,” David Jackson wrote.