Patricia Moreell of Boca Raton has been fighting fluoride for a dozen years.
Twelve years ago, she recalled, she appeared before the Palm Beach County Commission to speak against fluoridating the water supply that serves the unincorporated area – including West Boca Raton and West Delray Beach.
Fluoride has long been considered beneficial to teeth.
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She succeeded in keeping the fluoride tap closed back then. And when the issue came before the Boca Raton City Council, she succeeded in stopping the city’s fluoridation effort.
Moreell and other members of the South Florida Citizens for Safe Drinking Water are gearing up for another battle. Only this time, she fears she might walk away a loser.
The Palm Beach County Commission will hold a hearing Tuesday on whether to fluoridate the district’s water supply. A vote is scheduled to be taken following the 2 p.m. meeting at the Governmental Center at 301 N. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach.
Moreell, who lists herself simply as “a volunteer,” has counted the house. And it appears only two commissioners – Chairwoman Karen Marcus and Boca Raton’s representative Mary McCarty – will side with the fluoride foes.
She said her forces have bombarded all seven commissioners with information about the detrimental effects of fluoride, but have gotten no indication from any of them that they’re buying into it.
Commissioner Tony Masilotti, she said, refused even to meet with Moreell and her group.
The Boca Raton fluoride foe says the public seems ill informed about the substance’s potential detriments.
She cites reports that put fluoride in the same toxicity category as lead and arsenic. Fluoride, she notes, is not an essential nutrient and is actually a cumulative poison. Drinking fluoridated water, she said, can cause pitting and discoloration of teeth.
While fluoride is touted as beneficial to children, particularly as their teeth develop, Moreell says studies show fluoride does no good until the teeth have actually grown out of the gums.
The popularity of fluoride, she said, is based largely on commercialization. Fluoride has been added to water in many parts of the country for more than a half-century.
She urged people to read the warnings about fluoride on the side of toothpaste tubes to learn what the substance can do.
In the meantime, she said, she is preparing testimony for Tuesday’s meeting. Among those scheduled to speak with her group are Jeff Green, national director of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water in San Diego, and Dr. J. William Hirzy, senior scientist and chemist with the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection.
Hirzy called for a moratorium on fluoridation at a June 29, 2000 Senate hearing. He cited a report claiming fluoride is harmful to human health.