The City of Charlottetown plans to continue its practice of fluoridating drinking water when the new Miltonvale well comes on stream later this year.
Eddie Rice, the city councillor who chairs the water and sewer commission, said Charlottetown has fluoridated its water for more than half a century and has no plans to halt the practice.
“The Canadian Dental Association advises fluoride and we’re going to keep on using it until we have something concrete,” said Rice.
“It will have to take, I would say, some very heavy duty information from the federal department of health and a number of other agencies before any decision would be made to even start discussing this with people.”
Tooth decay on the rise in Calgary
Earlier this year, a study by the University of Calgary concluded there was a jump in tooth decay among children after fluoride was removed from Calgary’s water supply in 2011.
Health Canada says on its website, “Many studies have shown that fluoridated drinking water is a safe, effective and cost effective public health measure which significantly reduces the number of cavities in children’s teeth.”
Health Canada says it’s up to municipalities and provinces to decide whether to fluoridate or not. If communities do add fluoride to their water, Health Canada has guidelines on the concentrations needed.
Summerside not convinced
Of the four municipal waters systems on the Island, Charlottetown is alone in adding fluoride to its water.
Stratford and Cornwall both say it’s not an issue that has been raised by the residents of their communities.
In Summerside, questions have been raised, but Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services with the city, said the debate over flouridation has not been settled.
“There have been a lot of studies done on fluoridation, some of them very good, that Health Canada recommends, as well as some others, technical review journals of possible potential harmful effects from over-fluoridation or the build up of fluoridation in certain children and adults at large,” said Gaudet.
“So, with the controversy on using the chemical, Summerside water utility decided not to add a chemical into the system that was still in a debate mode.”
Gaudet said fluoridation may not be necessary because of the dental services provided by the province, which cover fluoride cleaning and treatment for school children from three to 17 years of age.