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Austin Will Continue to Add Fluoride to Its Water Supply

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This afternoon, two of Austin's City Council committees decided to drop the issue of fluoridated water.

The Public Utilities Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee met this afternoon to discuss the possibility of discontinuing the practice of adding fluoride to the city’s water supply, an issue raised in a resolution by District 6 Councilmember Don Zimmerman. 

His resolution argued against fluoridating the city’s water, claiming it amounts to forcing people to consume the mineral, trace quantities of which already occur naturally in water. Fluoridating municipal water supplies has been a widely accepted practice in the U.S. for decades, because fluoride has been shown to be both a good preventative against tooth decay and not harmful in small amounts.

Ingesting water with a high concentration of fluoride is not recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — they make the cutoff at 0.7 milligrams per liter of water, which is the amount in the City of Austin’s water supply.

The issue of banning water fluoridation has a relatively small, vocal network of supporters. They raise concerns about potential negative physical and neurological effects of fluoride.

A study by the Community Preventive Services Task Force found that "the research evidence does not demonstrate that community water fluoridation results in any unwanted health effects other than dental fluorosis, a condition that causes primarily cosmetic changes in the appearance of tooth enamel," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Zimmerman voted to move the resolution to a full City Council meeting, but no one seconded, and the resolution died in committee.

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