Dr. Kathryn Koliaska, medical offer of health in Alberta Health Services north zone, said the levels in Edson fluctuate. As it currently stands the level of fluoride in the water is over the recommended guidelines set by Health Canada.
The levels are not very high. They are just slightly over the guidelines. The guidelines are between 0.7 to 1.5 of fluoride. The current levels are between 0.11 to 2.21.
The fluoride levels are mostly a concern for children age 8 and under. Koliaska explained that is because at that age, children’s adult teeth are still being formed.
“If the teeth are already out and erupted, fluoride makes nice good strong teeth,” she said.
She added that prolonged exposure could cause fluorosis. Discoloration could appear on the child’s teeth in the form of white spots. The tooth enamel will also roughen. The tooth would still be strong but it would just look different.
Fluoride is not a concern to adults. She explained that is because of how it strengthens teeth as well as makes them resistant to bacterial decay.
“It’s a question of just getting the right amount of fluoride,” she said.
If parents are concerned she did recommend using an alternate source of drinking water for their children for part of the time. She suggested if parents elect this option, to use a 50/50 mix of Edson water and the alternate water.
The town is not under a drinking water advisory. All AHS and the town are doing is notifying the public of the situation. Both parties set a notification within residents water bill.
“It is more of a public notification,” she explained.
She said that some resident have lived in the area their whole lives and would know that the fluoride levels fluctuate. Some people are new to the area and would not necessarily know this. This notification would help them.