Hastings City Council said it supports legislation that would put fluoride in the cities water system. The decision came after people on both sides of the debate stress their concerns.

Those in favor of putting fluoride in water say it is an issue of health. But not everyone is convinced. Others say it is not needed and will actually do more harm than good.

People on both sides packed city council chambers in Hastings.

About a dozen dentists, doctors and pharmacists were on hand speaking in favor of fluoridation.

They say it reduces tooth decay dramatically and is a big benefit for low income and elderly people who cannot always get to the dentist.

They call it one of the biggest public health achievements of the 20th century.

“Fluoridation of the Hastings water will reduce the cost of dental treatment, lost time from school, lost time from work. It is estimated 51 million hours from school,” said Hastings Orthodontist Dr. John Pershing.

Some people did speak out Monday night against adding fluoride saying it is not the city’s responsibility. They are worried it could have a negative effect.

“And it ignores the fact that some people are more vulnerable to fluoride’s toxic effects. Some people may suffer while others may benefit,” said Bob Samuelson.

Under the bill in the legislature cities with more than 1,000 people would have to put fluoride in their drinking water.

But there is an option to opt out.

If the bill passes and cities do not want to add fluoride they would have to put it up for a public vote.

And they would have to do so by the end of this year.

City Council Monday night approved a resolution supporting this legislation.

No word on when a state decision will come down.

Mayor Matt Rossen says if the bill is not passed by lawmakers it still could move forward in Hastings.

But there would be more discussion before making any decision on that.