Council votes down motion to review research on fluoridation
City council has decided not to hold consultations with the authors of a recent study to discuss their findings on the fluoridation of Calgary’s drinking water.
A Notice of Motion was brought forward earlier this week by councillors Richard Pootmans, Diane Colley-Urquhart and Peter Demong to review the results of the study, which showed tooth decay has increased in Calgary children since fluoride was removed from the water in 2011.
The study from the University of Calgary’s O’Brien Institute for Public Health indicated that the average Calgary child developed more than five new cavities, while over the same time period their Edmonton counterparts only increased by three.
Edmonton added fluoride to its water supply in 1967 and continues to do so.
On Tuesday, councillors voted nine to five to dismiss the motion but even though the motion was defeated, the debate on fluoridation isn’t over yet.
City council will meet again on Wednesday afternoon to talk about a suggestion to send a letter to the province about tooth decay.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says a letter won't get anything done and that he’s surprised the motion to gather more information didn’t pass.
“I want to be sympathetic to my councillor colleagues on this because a number of them have pretty well thought out moral and ethical concerns with fluoride but I also believe in evidence based decision making and I’m pretty surprised that council said we don’t want any more evidence, we actually don’t want any more data,” he said. “I’m pretty surprised that the University of Calgary offered, for free, to actually give us some scientific data and council chose to say no.”
Nenshi says fluoridation would've been a cheap and effective way to improve the dental health of Calgary kids from low-income families and that Calgarians will need to talk to their councillors if they want fluoride in the water.
“It won’t have any impact and I think every member of council knows that,” he said. “I think that if there are people who are interested in fluoridation, then what you need to do is get your council interested in fluoridation and the way to do that is to put a petition at the front of every dental office and force us to have a plebiscite on the issue because this council is not going to do anything and if people are interested in something happening, then that’s the way to do it,” he said.
For more information on flouride in Calgary’s water, click HERE.