- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas water providers could opt-out of providing cavity-fighting fluoride under a bill passed by the state House.

Members voted 60-34 Thursday and sent to the Senate a bill to roll back a 2011 law requiring municipalities, rural water systems and other providers that serve more than 5,000 residents to put fluoride in the water supply.

The state Department of Health and Arkansas Children’s Hospital oppose the bill. Opponents say the change will lead to more cavities and increased health care costs.

The bill by Republican Rep. Jack Ladyman of Jonesboro would allow local providers to supply fluoride at any level below the state maximum. The measure doesn’t dictate how that decision would be made.

Ladyman didn’t debate the science regarding fluoride, but says the bill is about local control.

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