A plebiscite on removing fluoride from Calgary’s drinking water may be the way to go, one alderman says, after council killed a move Tuesday to remove the chemical without consulting the public.
“I think there’s support for a plebiscite,” said Ald. Druh Farrell, whose motion to remove fluoride without public input was rejected.
“I wanted to try this today, it’s a cleaner way to go.”
If council OK’s a plebiscite, it would likely be held with the 2010 municipal election.
Farrell and the five others who voted to remove fluoride from city water raised questions around whether it’s safe for everyone drinking it.
“If we’re going to err, we should be erring on the side of caution,” Ald. Jim Steven-son said, after citing several scientific studies.
Dr. Tom Feasby, dean of medicine at the University of Calgary, said continuing to add fluoride is the right way to go.
“This was first raised more than 40 years ago,” he said Tuesday. “We could argue it’s had enough time for debate and there’s enough data to make the decision.”
Feasby said fluoride reduces cavities and decay, especially in children. As for the risks, Feasby said that’s only an issue if the doses are high.
“In the amount it’s in city water, it can rarely cause harm,” he said.
Calgarians have spoken on fluoride before. In 1989, 53 per cent voted to start adding fluoride to the water. In 1998, 55 per cent backed its continuation.
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