IDA GROVE, Iowa (AP) - A small town in northwestern Iowa has ended its decades-long practice of treating the city's drinking water with fluoride.
The Ida Grove City Council narrowly voted this week to halt fluoride treatment in the city's water supply, the Sioux City Journal reported. The move comes after city leaders and residents questioned whether the fluoride was effective at preventing tooth decay or presented health risks.
A recent survey distributed through utility bills found that most respondents didn't support fluoridation in the small city 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of Sioux City, according to the clerk's office.
Many cities use the mineral in drinking water to promote dental health. A Hawaii lawmaker in January introduced legislation to add fluoride into that state's public water systems, while a city in central Ohio considered whether to implement the practice last year.
The mineral fluoride is in water and soil, and scientists more than 70 years ago discovered that people whose drinking water naturally had more fluoride also had fewer cavities. But the practice has been debated across the country, and some opponents have argued that its health effects aren't completely understood or that adding it amounts to unwanted medication.
Ida Grove, a city of roughly 2,000 residents, began the practice in 1971.
Councilman Doug Clough voted against the motion to end fluoride treatment. Clough said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn't identified any health risks associated with the mineral in water systems.
Local public health officials, including the town's Horn Memorial Hospital, also urged the council to continue the fluoride treatment.