A North Carolina county has voted to ban the use of fluoride in the county’s water supply.

Union County commissioners voted 3-2 on February 19th to stop adding fluoride to the water supply after residents expressed concerns about fluoride’s potential harms.

Abigail Prado, who leads the Moms for Liberty Union County chapter, told commissioners that fluoride in drinking water can impair the intellectual development of a gestating child.

Prado cited a 2019 study in JAMA Pediatrics that said, “maternal exposure to higher levels of fluoride during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged 3 to 4 years. These findings indicate the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.”

“I’m here tonight to present the board with evidence that fluoride is a known neurotoxin in the scientific community and to present a study which has found that fluoride in public drinking water can cause significant IQ damage to gestating children when consumed by pregnant mothers,” Prado said.

“Millions of pregnant women are currently being exposed to levels of fluoride that have the potential to lower their children’s IQ by at least four to six points,” she added.

NC Newsline shared Prado’s presentation:

“Union County, North Carolina commissioners have voted against continuing the addition of fluoride to part of the county’s water supply,” Fluoride Action Network wrote.

From NC Newsline:

A 2019 study in JAMA Pediatrics did show that elevated fluoride exposure during pregnancy might harm a child’s intellectual development, “indicating the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.” However, the researchers also noted the study had several limitations.

For example, the fluoride intake did not measure actual fluoride concentration in tap water in the participant’s home. And the data regarding fluoride intake data were limited by the mothers’ self-reported recall of beverage consumption per day.

When it came time for a vote, Union County Commissioner Richard Helms said he had to side with medical professionals in this debate, and the lived experience of his own children.

“I think the history in the United States of putting fluoride in at a minimum has made our young people’s life healthier and more pleasant. I can tell you that I grew up on a well and my dental problems kind of stopped once I got living on the water that was fluoride,” Helms said. “I will not be supporting a resolution to remove the fluoride and I’d ask my peers to do the same.”

However, Commissioner David Williams argued that people should have the right to choose what goes in their drinking water.

“There are a number of chemicals that get added to the water, but those chemicals are added to treat the water itself to make it safe to drink in some cases, to remove or address odor concerns or drinkability,” Williams said, according to NC Newsline.

“You know none of those other chemicals are added to the water to treat us. Fluoride is the one exception. Fluoride is added to the water to treat us, and I think that should give us pause,” he added.

“Commissioners Brian Helms, David Williams and Melissa Merrell voted for the motion, while Commission Chair J.R. Rowel and Commissioner Richard Helms voted against it,” WFAE reports.


The vote Monday came after a group of concerned citizens, who call themselves the “Fluoride Fighters,” said they worried about fluoride’s potential harms such as lowering children’s IQ, and said the county was violating their medical freedoms by fluoridating its water.

Speaking before the vote, Williams said he agreed people should have the right to choose what goes in their water.

“Let’s stop putting something in the water that’s meant to treat us, and give people the freedom to choose. What an extraordinary idea, you know?” he said.

Brian Helms, who also voted for the measure, said he didn’t believe the board should overrule the medical wishes of residents.

“Should this board ignore consent by putting a substance in the water that is for dental or medicinal benefit? Are we not at least in a sense mandating medication for the public?” he asked.

Read the cited study from JAMA Pediatrics.

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