Calgary council has bitten off more than it could chew on the fluoride issue. Aldermen voted last year to stop adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water, and promised to divert the $750,000 in annual savings to improve dental health of poor children.
Now, former Ward 9 alderman Joe Ceci says not one dollar has gone toward that use.
“We’re talking about the dental health of kids from low-income backgrounds,” said Ceci, a co-ordinator with Action to End Poverty in Alberta. “We already know they carry more cavities than other children. Fluoride in the water was one of the things that kept their teeth strong and hard.”
Council could have closed the door on the issue last fall, when it refused to endorse a secret report into how the municipality should fund anti-cavity programs. Instead, aldermen asked for a new report that would be made public, with more options on preventing cavities in children.
The intentions are good, but unnecessary, since Alberta Health Services already offers a fluoride program for low-income children.
Council should put the issue back on the table only long enough to close the book permanently on its involvement in the polarizing fluoride debate. That $750,000 could be put to much better use.
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