Fluoride is back on the agenda at Calgary city council.
Three city councillors are pushing to re-examine the discontinuation of fluoride in Calgary’s drinking water in the wake of a February study comparing the teeth of children in Calgary and Edmonton.
The province-wide University of Calgary study found rates of childhood tooth decay increased faster in Calgary than in Edmonton, where fluoride remains in the water, and it determined fluoride cessation in Calgary has had a negative impact on children’s health.
A notice of motion put forward by councillors Peter Demong, Diane Colley-Urquhart and Richard Pootmans is scheduled to be discussed by city council next week.
It asks that council engage the researchers behind the study to conduct an objective assessment of the issue and present their findings to city council by December.
Fluoridation was once widely used across much of Canada, but concerns about potential health risks has prompted some municipalities to stop the practice.
Whether or not to keep fluoride in Calgary’s water was an issue previous councils and voters grappled with for decades until May 2011, when Calgary stopped adding fluoride to its water supply following council direction.
The University of Calgary study, jointly conducted with researchers from the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services, examined the mouths of 5,000 Grade 2 students in Calgary and Edmonton and provided one of the first looks at the effects of fluoride cessation.
A second, separate notice of motion put forward by Pootmans and Colley-Urquhart focused on preventative oral health for Calgarians in financial need asks council to direct administration to complete an inventory of all preventive oral health programs and services.
Pootmans said the two notices of motion are complimentary and if Calgary is going to continue to not put fluoride in the water supply, he wants to understand the consequences.
“We have to start to understand the implications of our decision not to fluoridate the water,” he said.