Say goodbye to fluoridated water in Slave Lake. After reviewing a report on the matter, councillors voted at their Sept. 6 meeting to stop adding the chemical to the town’s water supply.
Why it was there in the first place is a good question. Evidently, it is – or has been – considered to have beneficial effects on tooth health. It also – as was noted in the report by Doug Topinka of the Town of Athabasca – could be regarded as mass medication without the consent of the people being medicated.
Also on the ‘con’ side in Topinka’s report was that too much fluoride could cause health problems of its own.
The report detailed the extent of fluoride use across Canada. Only four per cent of B.C. municipalities use it, he reported, whereas in Ontario it’s as high as 75 per cent. In Alberta it’s 39 per cent and dropping, with Calgary having recently gone fluoride-free. Worldwide, only six per cent of drinking water has it.
The annual cost to fluoridate Slave Lake’s water is about $20,000, council heard. That doesn’t count capital costs. Maintenance is fairly costly, due to the corrosive nature of the chemical.
Further, Topinka (who was in town helping town administration for a few days) reported that fluoridation is not required by provincial or federal authorities; therefore it can be removed by a motion of council.
Judging by the number of the town’s fluoridation by-law (11-1971), fluoridation was implemented 40 years ago.
Council heard from water plant operator Shane Miller, who has been responsible for adding hydrofluorosilicic acid to the water supply for the past six years, in spite of believing it did no good.
“My child has fluorosis,” he said.
Fluorosis, as described in Topinka’s report, is a “mottling of the teeth.” It can apparently also affect the bones.
The motion council passed calls for the elimination of fluoride from the town’s water supply, effective Oct. 1.