Water fluoridation back up for debate in Calgary
Published Tuesday, February 26, 2019 8:20AM EST
Eight years after Calgary removed fluoride from its tap water, the city is reconsidering its decision after councillors voted in favour of commissioning a study to examine its health benefits.
Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart introduced a motion on Monday night to have the University of Calgary’s O’Brien Institute for Public Health conduct a study on the effects of fluoridation.
“All I am asking for is that we do the study, do the research that’s needed. We’re not talking about putting it in, we’re not talking about keeping it out forever, the jury is still out on this,” she explained to CTV Calgary before the vote.
Colley-Urquhart presented a similar motion to council in 2016, but it was voted down.
Fluoride was taken out of the drinking water in 2011 after a majority of Calgary city councillors felt that its ability to fight tooth cavities was unclear and the cost of including the mineral in the water was increasing.
Since that time, researchers say rates of childhood tooth decay have gone up in the city.
In 2016, the University of Calgary conducted a study that compared children’s teeth in Calgary to those of children in Edmonton, which still has fluoride in its water, and found the increase in cavities was higher in Calgary.
Calgary pediatric dentist Leonard Smith said he thinks it’s time for the city to fluoridate the water again.
“It was really a negative decision made by a number of uninformed individuals,” he said. “Fluoride has been shown over countless studies to be one of the best public health measures.”
Colley-Urquhart presented a similar motion to council to conduct a study in 2016, but it was voted down. This time around, however, councillors were in favour of the motion.
The study’s findings are expected to be delivered to city council by June.