The City of Calgary discontinued the practice of fluoridating Calgary's drinking water on Thursday, May 19, 2011, following direction from Council and the official receipt of Alberta Environment's authorization to amend The City's Water Operating Approval.
Fluoride still occurs naturally
Fluoride naturally occurs in the Bow and Elbow Rivers, in concentrations varying throughout the year, between 0.1 and 0.4 mg/L.
History of fluoridation in Calgary
Calgarians vote against adding fluoride to its drinking water three times in 1957, 1961 and 1971.
In a 1989 plebiscite, Calgarians voted in favour of adding fluoride to the city's drinking water. By 1991, fluoride was being added to Calgary's drinking water at a target of 1.0 mg/L.
In 1998, The City and Alberta Health Services reviewed water fluoridation as a public policy, and a panel of five experts recommended a reduction in the level of fluoride to 0.7 mg/L. This change was adopted in 1999 following a second plebiscite where Calgarians again voted in favour of fluoridation by 55 per cent.
The City of Calgary discontinued the addition of fluoride to Calgary's drinking water as directed by Council on May 19, 2011.
Frequently asked questions
1. What is fluoride?
Fluorides are chemical compounds, naturally found in air, water, soil and almost all foods. Fluorides are commonly released into the environment by erosion resulting in natural concentrations in surface and ground waters.
Most Canadians are exposed to fluorides on a daily basis, both through trace amounts found in foods and those that are added to some drinking water supplies to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride naturally occurs in the Bow and Elbow Rivers between 0.1 to 0.4 mg/L.
2. Why was fluoridation discontinued in Calgary?
At the direction of City Council, The City of Calgary discontinued the practice of adding fluoride to Calgary's drinking water in May 2011.
3. How much did The City save by not adding fluoride to our drinking water?
The annual cost of adding fluoride to Calgary's drinking water was approximately $750,000.
4. How will my health be affected now that fluoridation has stopped?
The City's drinking water continues to perform better than the water quality standards stipulated in Health Canada's Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines. For more specific information related to fluoride and health, contact Alberta Health Services or your family physician.