MANATEE -- County Commissioner Michael Gallen today questioned whether Manatee County should continue to fluoridate its water.
Gallen, speaking during a county commission meeting, said he was "really concerned" why the county uses fluoride in the water supply, asking if it truly provides what the public needs.
He said he drinks water at his home straight from the faucet, and wondered whether it was adding up in his body to an unhealthy level.
He questioned whether county residents might be consuming more fluoride every day than they need.
"So, I don't know why we're doing it," he said. Unless there's a great demand out there for it, the county could save perhaps about $100,000 a year if it took the fluoride out, he added.
"I don't know if it's really a 'must' anymore," he concluded.
County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said he would ask his staff to assemble a report outlining why the county fluoridates its water, its costs and other aspects of the program.
Fluoride is naturally present in all water; community water fluoridation is the addition of fluoride to adjust the natural fluoride concentration of a community's water supply to the level recommended for optimal dental health, according to the American Dental Hygienists Association website.
Gallen noted some other counties have recently halted the use of fluoride for "the betterment of the community."
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.