MIMS, Fla. — Brevard County Utilities stopped adding fluoride to the water supply in Mims indefinitely on Thursday, about 10 days after the Brevard County Commission voted to do so.
What You Need To Know
- Brevard no longer adding fluoride to water supply in Mims
- Commissioners voted to end the practice at May 4 meeting
- The issue wasn’t put on meeting’s agenda and was raised at end of meeting
- Dentists oppose the decision, saying it will hurt public health long term
The process, called community water fluoridation, is recommended by health-care groups such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association as highly effective in improving oral health.
The action came after Brevard County Commission Chairperson Rita Pritchett, the district one commissioner who oversees Mims and northern Brevard County, questioned the practice during the discussion portion of the commission meeting, saying that fluoride was “terrible for us.”
Public did not get chance to comment on end to CWF during discussion
While the meeting itself was advertised ahead of time, along with its six-page agenda, community water fluoridation (CWF) was not explicitly mentioned so the community didn’t have advance notice that the issue would be taken up by commissioners.
Melbourne-based attorney Joe Colombo, who is well-versed in municipal law, said that is not the normal practice.
“To bring it up under commissioners’ reports, at literally the last minute of the meeting — with no notice, nothing on the agenda — that’s very, very unusual,” Colombo said.
No public comments were able to weigh in on the decision because it occurred during the board reports portion of the meeting.
District 2 Commissioner Bryan Lober, who made the motion for the vote on May 4, said Thursday that he thought at the time the vote was to approve staff to look over the options for removing fluoride, but not going forward with the removal itself.
“First, fully I admit that I was incorrect in that assumption,” Lober said. “But I will say as well that even had we had everyone on the same page with respect to what the vote was, to actually take it out, I still would’ve voted the same way.”
According to the Brevard County Commission charter, the section describing public meetings states in part that they “shall contain an agenda of all matters to be acted upon.”
Lober said that because the fluoride issue didn’t change a county ordinance or a county code, it didn’t need to be explicitly advertised.
“I understand that that’s an argument to make, (but) I’m not aware of any case law that holds that we can’t take action on administrative or policy matters during a duly noticed board meeting,” Lober said.
He also noted that no one came to the following commission meeting, one regarding zoning, to voice a complaint about the commission’s actions on fluoride.
“If someone really felt that strongly, certainly they could’ve…