To the Editor
Since its inception in 1965, the Greater Pine Island Water Association (GPIWA) has always had fluoride in the water supply; it is a naturally occurring nutrient found in most all ground water throughout the world. However, the amount of fluoride provided by GPIWA over the years has varied based on the water production process used to treat our ground/well water.
Just over a year ago, the Board of Directors became aware of a State of Florida Depart-ment of Health (FDOH) grant ($63,300) that would provide the equipment and infrastructure needed to optimize the fluoride level in our water supply to FDOH recommended standards, to help in the prevention of tooth decay.
GPIWA's Board of Directors saw this as an opportunity for all of our members to have the same benefits from fluoridation that is enjoyed by more than 500,000 residents in Lee County; i.e. Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral and all areas served by Lee County Government Utilities, 13+ million people in the State of Florida, and 200 million people (mol) throughout the United States.
As to why the board members did not seek a vote of the membership for this project:
- The Board of Directors did what they are elected and mandated to do by Article IX, Section 1 of the By-Laws, "exercise all powers of the Association."
- In the 46 years the association has been providing water to Greater Pine Island and through the many administrative and operational changes, there is no established precedent for allowing the general membership to make decisions.
- The board members are not adding a new substance to the water supply, but only optimizing current fluoride levels to those recommended by the Florida Department of Health to help fight tooth decay.
- The board members wanted our membership to have the same benefits of community water fluoridation that has become a proven public health enhancement for over 60 years (four generations), benefiting 200 million (mol) people in the U.S.
- Over 100 national and international organizations recognize the public health benefits of community water fluoridation as a safe and effective method for preventing tooth decay, i.e. The Center for Disease Control which provided a large part ($58,000 (mol)) of the grant money to GPIWA for the fluoride enhancement program, the American Dental Association, the American Medical Associa-tion, the American Cancer Society, and the American Academy of Pediatrics to name a few.
If you want to know more, GPIWA's web site pineislandwater.com, contains information and web links to many creditable sites you will recognize on the benefits of community water fluoridation.
Greater Pine Island Water Association Board of Directors