Board of Supervisors takes next step toward fluoridating county water

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday pressed forward with a controversial plan to put fluoride into most of the county's drinking water during an emotional hearing in which dozens of speakers debated whether the chemical compound is a panacea or a poison.

Dentists and other health care professionals, along with a larger, more vocal contingent of fluoride skeptics, packed board chambers for the marathon five-hour public hearing.

Despite reservations expressed by some supervisors, the board unanimously authorized additional financial analysis and engineering studies of adding fluoride to most of the county's drinking water. The final decision is not expected until March 2014.

"We can't ignore the data and the statistics in this county when it comes to the oral health epidemic," Supervisor Efren Carrillo said.

Dozens of speakers, however, expressed anger and dismay over the proposal, citing health concerns, distrust of mainstream science and doubts about how the county would be able to fund the project.

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