The Town of Hinton will be taking a closer look at fluoridation in local tap water, after receiving a non-binding petition with 200 signatures expressing concerns about the additive in the water.
The Town held a plebiscite on adding fluoride to the water in October 1967 and the issue has not been revisited since.
Councilor Bill Bulger said he feels that the issue should be revisited more frequently than this and put forward the motion to hold a public meeting or other means of gathering public feedback on the issue.
“The reason for my making this motion is . . . it’s a matter of public process,” said Bulger.
“I’ve been getting all sorts of information about this from different quarters. I bring this motion to council in response to public sentiment.”
“My concern for bringing this forward is about process and public consultation,” he said.
“Even Alberta Health Services reviews [the use of fluoride in water] at least every two years. It’s a matter of process.”
Councilor Jane Macridis said she thinks there are likely strong views held among the public on both sides of the issue.
“We’ve heard from approximately 200 residents who oppose it but probably an equal amount support it,” she said.
“I would really like to see some strong public engagement on this issue.”
The motion passed agreed to set a date for a public meeting by Oct. 30.
Because the Town held a plebiscite on the issue in 1967, it is not required to go to the public for another vote on the issue.
Council has the authority to make the decision.
Mayor Glenn Taylor said he had heard and read largely positive things about adding fluoride to the water and strong evidence would be needed to change his mind.
“I can tell you it’s going to take a heck of a lot to convince me to oppose fluoridation of the water,” he said.
“The science I’ve read about it has largely pointed to the health benefits.”