After 60 years of water fluoridation, it remains an emotional and divisive issue around the world.
In May 2011, Council voted to remove fluoride from Calgary's water system. Druh Farrell's motion to remove fluoride, which was signed by nine of her Council colleagues, included a resolution to redirect funds currently spent on fluoride to provide a more targeted approach to improve dental health issues for children living in poverty.
While compelling scientific evidence exists both for and against water fluoridation, the basic questions – is it safe, is it ethical and is it effective – became the real issue. At the same time, alternative options to water fluoridation are readily available, such as fluoridated toothpaste, dental treatments and tablets.
Many have asked why Council did not refer the decision to an expert panel. The panel offered to Council had already stated their support of water fluoridation. The City of Calgary established an expert panel in 1998 and agreed to reduce the level of fluoride to 0.7 mg/L because of a dissenting member who wanted it removed entirely. The reduced levels adopted by Calgary have just recently been adopted across North America, which demonstrates that the science is still developing, and the safe levels are not fully understood.
Scientific American published an interesting article in January 2008.
The Globe and Mail published articles both for and against fluoridation. The debate continues...
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.