Reintroducing Fluoride into Calgary’s Drinking Water
September 25, 2017
During the campaign, I will be discussing the issues facing Ward 11 residents. One of the most common questions I receive is where I stand on reintroducing fluoride into our drinking water.
One of the issues on the minds of many young families that I meet in Ward 11 is the question of reintroducing Fluoride into Calgary’s drinking water. Earlier this year a study from the University of Calgary showed a significant increase of cavities in Calgary since the end of fluoridation in our drinking water in comparison to Edmonton. Findings showed that the inclusion of fluoride is an important way to protect children from tooth decay, and as many families have told me, It is a way to protect families who may not be able to afford robust dental care.
It’s one of the reasons, that I believe City Council made a critical mistake in 2011, when they decided to remove fluoride from Calgary’s drinking water. The decision was made despite a plebiscite where Calgarians showed support for fluoride in the drinking water, and studies since have shown dramatic increases in childhood tooth decay in Calgary. As your Councillor, I will strongly support the reintroduction of fluoride into our drinking water.
- In 2011, City Council decided to end the practice of adding fluoride to Calgary’s drinking water without accessing the advice of an expert panel. This was despite a 1989 plebiscite that demonstrated public support for fluoridation at 53%.
- Five years later, a joint study between Alberta Health Services, the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta, “Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology” was released. The report’s findings demonstrated that while childhood tooth decay was on the increase in both Calgary and Edmonton, it was increasing at a much higher rate in Calgary. Edmonton was still fluoridating its drinking water.
- In response to this study, a Notice of Motion was brought to Council in September 2016 asking the University of Calgary’s O’Brien Institute for Public Health to provide current knowledge regarding fluoridation and answer Council’s outstanding questions and concerns regarding the practice. The motion failed despite the fact the University offered to do it pro bono.
- The Alberta Government views fluoridation as safe, but will not fund it on behalf of municipalities.
- I would support a motion by council to reintroduce Fluoride into the drinking water. I believe that Calgarians have spoken on this topic and the feedback I’ve received from residents is that they want this reintroduced.
- I believe council should move forward with the offer made by the University of Calgary to fully study and report on current findings regarding fluoridation to answer the outstanding questions and concerns raised not only by Council, but also members of the public.
- I would also continue discussions with the Alberta Government regarding this essential component of human health and continue to lobby for funding.