Ariz. town investigates why fluoridation was halted

Two town administrators in Gilbert, AZ, have been placed on leave after officials discovered fluoride has been withheld from part of the town's water supply for more than a year.

Gilbert voters approved fluoridation 12 years ago after a heated debate, and the job of adding the cavity-fighting chemical fell to Public Works Director Lonnie Frost, whose wife had led the opposition against fluoride, according to a story in the Arizona Republic.

Frost, along with Water Manager Chris Ochs, are now on paid leave while the town investigates how and why fluoride was not being added to the town's water supply, the story stated.

Reports from 2009 and 2010 indicated the fluoride in Gilbert's water varied between 0.42 and 1.1 parts per million (ppm), well below the maximum allowable level of 4 ppm, according to the Republic. A 2011 report, however, found fluoride levels had dropped, ranging from "not detected" to 0.92 ppm.

Town officials have now ordered an independent verification of the public water system.

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