Drinking water furnished by the City of Milton no longer contains fluoride.

City officials decided to pull fluoride from drinking water in November as “strictly a cost-saving measure” according Ricky Hinote, director of water and wastewater treatment for Milton.

“The grant money used to pay for it ran out,” Hinote said. “It was going to stop due to money last year, but the state gave us another grant to keep putting it in.”

City of Milton drinking water customers first began receiving fluoride in 1987 after a grant was received for that purpose. Those efforts ended in 2005 and began again in 2007 with a new grant for $120,000. In 2011, the money ran out, but the state of Florida came up with another $20,000 to continue fluoridation in Milton.

On Nov. 15, all grant monies for fluoride additives were spent, and city officials chose to end the program, citing cost.
The addition of fluoride in public water systems has been controversial since its inception. Those in favor of fluoridation point out the benefits in dental health.

Those against the idea cite studies saying ingestion is not necessary and is actually detrimental to human health, pointing to how readily available fluoride now is in other forms.

While some experts say there is no certainty to suggestions that fluoride causes serious health issues, there is research that supports claims fluoride affects brain chemistry and contributes to depression and autism in children. Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency were called upon in 2000 to testify before Congress on these and other afflictions blamed on fluoridation.

Hinote said responses from customers of Milton water have been few. One lady emailed to thank the City for not fluoridating, Hinote said, and another customer called in to ask if they were still chlorinating the water.

“We have to do that,” he said. “That is what disinfects the water.”

Hinote says approximately 7,000 homes are affected by the change, equating to about 19,000 customers.