Fluoride has been added to the tap water in Drayton Valley since the mid 1960s, but that may all be about to end. Last Wednesday town council heard a presentation from water plant manager Bernie Berube, who urged them to abandon the process.
Fluoride is added to drinking water because it helps to prevent dental cavities. However, it has been linked with some serious health problems when taken in excess. Berube said the water plant had trouble monitoring exactly how much fluoride was in the water.
“We’ve had a number of difficulties in testing because of the character of the water in the North Saskatchewan,” he said.
Fluoride was first introduced to Drayton Valley’s water supply as the result of a plebiscite held Oct. 19 1966. In a very close vote 145 people voted in favour of fluoride, with 139 voting against. There were seven spoiled ballots.
Most urban municipalities in North America use the process, although there has been a move away from it in recent years.
Berube said that stopping fluoridizaton would also have a financial benefit to the Town, although he didn’t feel that was the most important issue.
“That’s just a bonus,” he said. ” The big thing is that this is a health and safety issue for our customers.”
Adam Jensen, a public health inspector with the David Thompson Health Region didn’t take a strong stance on either side of the issues. However, he did says that dental health experts were keen to see fluoridization continue.
Mayor Me Hamdon says Town administration is checking to see if it would be necessary to hold another plebiscite to stop adding fluoride. In the mean time council is looking for more information from experts in the field.