Calgary’s drinking water will soon be fluoride-free. City councillors have voted by a margin of 10 to 3 to eliminate the controversial additive from the city’s water.
The issue had become a divisive topic. Fluoride has been in Calgary’s drinking water for over two decades. The city still has to inform Alberta Environment of its decision so that the chemical can be removed.
According to the Vancouver Sun, the fluoride debate isn’t just in Calgary.
Should fluoride be mandatory for all citizens?
Interestingly, few argue that fluoride is anything but good for teeth. Although the Fluoride Action Network points out that humans can have good teeth without fluoride as an additive; then they point out 49 other reasons to oppose fluoride as a mandatory chemical medication metered to the general public by the government. (The 50 reasons are worth a read.)
Activists have a problem with a pharmaceutical creation, a medication, being mandatorily fed to a population. “What next?” is the thinking. Maybe Valium is good for people, too.
Valium is not a good example. But it illustrates the problem. Just because a chemical compound is believed to be “good for health” by current health measures, should the chemical therefore be added to public consumables?
Who’s got fluoride?
As noted in “Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General” (the Surgeon General was David Satcher, May 2000), community water fluoridation continues to be the most cost-effective, equitable and safe means to provide protection from tooth decay in a community.
“The report cites scientific studies finding that people living in communities with fluoridated water have fewer cavities than those living where the water is not fluoridated,” says the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). “For more than 50 years, small amounts of fluoride have been added to drinking water supplies in the United States….”
We’ve all been drinking this Kool-Aid.
And while fluoride in drinking water may be good for teeth, Kool-Aid with Vitamin C added could be said to be good for an immune system. Keep it out of my drinking water.
Portland, Maine resident Oliver Outerbridge is leading an effort in Maine to stop fluoride as an additive in public drinking water. “Our feeling is that adding fluoride to your drinking water is a decision that should be made by an individual. It should not be left up to the government to medicate the people,” said Outerbridge.
Well, if you put it that way….
Where’s the grief?
Many communities have rejected fluoridation.
Others say a low threshold must be established. “If EPA just did simple arithmetic in a risk assessment, it would have to come up with a standard for fluoride in drinking water of less than 1 mg/L,” said Paul Connett, emeritus professor of chemistry at St. Lawrence University, in a statement.
In Canada, about three-quarters of Alberta’s population have fluoridated water, compared to roughly 45 per cent nationally. In British Columbia, less than 4% of citizens have fluoride in the water. And in Waterloo, Ontario, residents recently voted by a tiny margin to stop adding fluoride to their drinking water.
In Calgary, fluoride was added to the water in 1989. City voters narrowly approved adding the substance at the time – so it was never welcomed by an overwhelming majority to begin with.
Wag the dog…?
A great followup to this blog post would be to track the supply chain. Who’s supplying all this fluoride chemical compound to the utility companies and the public? And who’s paying for it?
Because it sounds a little like the ubiquitous corn syrup story. And it doesn’t sound quite right.