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Anti-fluoridation resolution dies before reaching Council

Thursday, August 20, 2015 by Tyler Whitson

A push to end community water fluoridation in Austin ended Wednesday at a joint meeting of the City Council Public Utilities Committee and Health and Human Services Committee. After hearing arguments from fluoridation advocates and opponents, Council Member Don Zimmerman, a member of the Public Utilities Committee, questioned evidence that fluoridation provides dental benefits and referred to ceasing the practice as a potential cost-saving measure. He made a motion to forward a resolution to the full Council – without recommendation – that would direct city staff to cease fluoridation by December. That motion failed for lack of a second, and no countermotion was made, meaning that, without additional action, the item will not go before the full Council. Council Member Ann Kitchen, also a member of the Public Utilities Committee, asserted that “the great weight of evidence” supports community water fluoridation. “I trust our public health officials,” she said. Council Member Ora Houston, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee, voiced concerns about how ending the practice would impact low-income residents and children. “(In some cases), that’s the only health care that they get,” she said. After it became clear that no action would be taken, committee members were subject to boos and shouts from attendees filing out of the room.

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