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Phoenix will continue water fluoridation

Following a couple of hours of testimony, a city council subcommittee decided not to recommend changes to Phoenix's water fluoridation policy.

From Phoenix, KJZZ's Steve Goldstein reports.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: The city was considering the issue for the first time since the council voted for fluoridation in 1989 as a method of helping lower rates of tooth decay in the general population. The council heard comments and testimony from several fluoridation opponents. Chemist William Hirzy of American University in Washington, D.C. questioned the levels of fluoride in Phoenix's water and said too much fluoride can cause health problems.

WILLIAM HIRZY: The more fluoride you're exposed to, the more dental fluorosis. The more dental fluorosis, there's other effects that are going to be happening in the body. And you better not turn your back on it. Mother Nature has a way of biting us when we do that kind of thing.

GOLDSTEIN: Dr. Bob England , head of Maricopa County Public Health, said fluoridated water benefits the community. Without it, there will be economic and dental consequences.

DR. BOB ENGLAND: It's going to cost us a lot of money as a community. We all pay that tab. We all pay for higher dental costs with higher dental premiums. And a whole lot of kids, especially, in this community who don't get dental insurance will wind up with unnecessary tooth loss following a painful, chronic toothache.