CLEARWATER - A citizen watchdog and opponent of flouride in Pinellas County drinking water has accused a former County Commission member of profiting from the company that sells the chemicals to the county that flouridates the water.
Tom Nocera of Clearwater, the watchdog, sent an e-mail Friday to County Administrator Steve Spratt and members of the County Commission pointing out that previous e-mails he had sent were not acknowledged.
Nocera accuses Pick Talley, the county's public works director of pushing and implementing the flouridation of the county's water supply.
But Nocera's main target seems to be Steven M. Seibert, a former member of the County Commission who is on the board of directors of the Mosaic Company which Nocera indicated supplies fluorosilicic acid which is the chemical supposedly used in the flouridation process.
Nocera led strong opposition to the implementation of the program in the water supply some years ago.
"This program directly benefits not the residents of Pinellas County, but instead the shareholders of three companies and most notably" Steven Seibert.
Seibert is listed on the board of directors of the Mosaic Company.
He was elected to the County Commission in 1992 and re-elected without opposition in 1996. In 1999, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Seibert as Secretary of the state Department of Community Affairs.
His subsequent empty seat on the commission was filled when Karen Seel, then a Clearwater elected official, was appointed to the post. She still holds the office.
Nocera said in his e-mail Friday to county officials that every year since 2004 Seibert has been given about $50,000 in stock of the Mosaic Company.
He ties Seibert and Talley together in his e-mail, pointing out, as one example, that the two were involved in the founding of Tampa Bay Water.
Nocera said that a vote was held in Pinellas County in 1975 which prohibited "this useless and dangerous practice of mass medication."
He also said, "I am disappointed that my e-mails to Spratt remain unanswered. . . Meanwhile, communities in Florida and around the country are discontinuing the dumping of flouride into public drinking water since the American Dental Association issued its warning not to give infants under 12 months any flouridated water and to avoid mixing baby formula with flouridated water."
Nocera said, "Note that both Vermont and New Hampshire have issued the kind of warning that Mr. Talley refused to do when he was personally informed of this shift in the ADA's position on flouride safety back in November."
He concluded his e-mail with - "As a taxpayer and citizen of Pinellas County I now demand a public reply. The intentional misleading by county staff must come to and end."
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