Fluoride is once again on the minds of Calgary’s elected officials, but not all are keen to discuss the enamel-building mineral.
Councillors Peter Demong, Diane Colley-Urquhart and Richard Pootmans want to discuss a 2011 decision to remove fluoride in the wake of a February studying comparing the teeth of children in Calgary and Edmonton.
But, some councillors say it’s not worth talking about fluoride again after council finally made a decision in 2011 following decades of debate, plebiscites and council votes dating back to 1957.
“The way I look at it, we should just let the sleeping dog lie,” said Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu.
“It’s pretty much split right in the middle. Half say yes, half say no.”
Ward 10 Coun Andre Chabot agreed it’s not worth reconsidering adding fluoride back into Calgary’s tap water after council voted to eliminate fluoride in a 10-3 vote in February 2011.
“I see it as us medicating the population with no options of opting out,” he said.
Chabot said after he was elected in 2005, he spent years looking at the pros and cons of fluoride.
“(I) finally came to the conclusion that from my perspective, it came down to a moral dilemma. When you’re talking about medicating, individuals should have the right to say no.”
Councillors Demong, Colley-Urquhart and Pootmans are asking council to engage the researchers behind a fluoride study that found rates of childhood tooth decay increased faster in Calgary than in Edmonton, where fluoride remains in the water.
The item is on this week’s council agenda and is expected to be debated on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Coun. Druh Farrell, who led the charge to rid Calgary’s water of fluoride, said the city, province and health authority all need to look at dental health as a whole, instead of just focusing on fluoride.
“We’re being hijacked by the discussion around fluoride and tooth decay is going up across the province, dental care is unaffordable,” she said.
“It’s a much bigger issue than fluoride.”