After an hour of often-bizarre pleas from their salt-of-the-earth constituents Tuesday, four of Hernando County, Florida's five county commissioners donned their tinfoil thinking hats and decided to kill a plan that would have added fluoride to their drinking water.
The four turned against a lone colleague, Commissioner Diane Rowden, who had proposed a plan to add fluoride therapy to the water supply for 62,000 residents. She never got anyone to second her proposal. What she got was an earload of conspiracy-theory derp from a peanut gallery of residents at the commission meeting.
Called one of the "10 greatest public health achievements in the 20th century" by the CDC, fluoride therapy has proven effective in reducing cavities and tooth decay in children and adults alike. But that hasn't stopped Birchers, Jonesies, and even Sierra Clubbers from arguing that water fluoridation is either a U.N. communist Illuminati Nazi plot to establish a one-world government and feminize humanity, or an anarcho-capitalistic ploy by the Big Fluoride industry.
All of that pablum, and little real science, was on display at the Hernando County commission meeting. According to the Tampa Bay Times, commission Chairman Wayne Dukes stacked the discussion portion so it was favorable to fluoride opponents (emphasis added):
They described health risks they believed to be associated with fluoride, ranging from a tooth condition called fluorosis to renal failure and bone problems. They called the substance poison and quoted various medical studies that attributed low intelligence to fluoridated water.
One spoke of how Adolf Hitler used fluoride to poison Jews in concentration camps and said that the leaders of Brooksville, which recently voted to restore fluoride to the city water supply, "should be arrested for crimes against humanity.''
Others spoke about how some countries refuse to fluoridate their water and how there are conflicting studies regarding whether the use of fluoride reduces tooth decay.
Those upstanding citizens were followed by eager fluoride proponents: two dentists who called the treatment "safe and effective" and argued "that while in a perfect world everyone would care for their and their children's teeth, 'sadly, this is not a perfect world.'''
More proponents likely would have come forward, but Duke closed discussion there and let the issue die when no commissioner came forward to support Rowden's proposal.
Rowden was not happy. "I've never seen anything like this,'' she said. "It almost seemed like it was planned.'' Oh, come on now; that sounds like crazy conspiracy talk!