Tampa Bay Times Wins Pulitzer for Pro-Fluoride Editorials
We just learned that the Tampa Bay Times has won a Pulitzer Prize for the series of editorials it published supporting community water fluoridation and challenging the misleading rhetoric from opponents. Parents, oral health advocates and other citizens in Pinellas County, Florida were angered when the county commission voted in 2011 to end fluoridation. Their decision was at odds with the broad public support for this health practice.
Soon after this disturbing decision by the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners, the Times began examining the issue and asking the tough questions. Editorials like these two took a sobering look at the impact of the 2011 vote and raised awareness of the overall importance of oral health. Two anti-fluoride commissioners lost their re-election bids due mostly to the furor created by their votes to embrace junk science. The newly reconstituted board voted 6-1 to restore fluoridation, and fluoridated water began flowing in March.
Neil Brown, the Times’ editor released a statement in which he wrote: “Through clear and forceful editorials, Tim Nickens and Dan Ruth went to bat for hundreds of thousands of people, many of them poor, who were being deprived a chance at better health.”
We couldn’t agree more. The Times deserves accolades for its courageous stand, siding with oral health and against the distortions of fluoride opponents.