The issue of fluoride in the drinking water is still a controversial one decades after it began in North America.
In Cranbrook, fluoridation began in 1967.
The issue last came forward in September of 2012, when two residents — Brian Kostiuk and Brad Brehm — went before Cranbrook City Council asking for the city to stop adding fluoride to the municipal water supply.
The issue faded away, but is now being brought forward again, as a class action lawsuit by Kevin Millership.
Millership is a Slocan-based landscaper who in 2003 took the province to court seeking damages for fluorosis he developed as a child from drinking fluoridated water. That case established causation, according to documents, but claims were barred by the Limitations Act, which limits the amount of time people are able to sue.
Millership calls the issue of fluoridation in the water “mass medication.”
As of press time, the City of Cranbrook could not be reached for comment on the issue.
“Now I’m suing on behalf of everyone in Cranbrook with dental fluorosis,” Millersmith said.
In his lawsuit, Millership alleges that the city has a duty of care for its residents and is negligently harming members of the suit by adding fluoride to drinking water.
“As soon as you add anything for medical purposes it becomes a drug, because it is a toxic waste,” he said. “They are adding it without informed consent, because you guys had a referendum in 1967. Everyone who’s moved here since then or didn’t vote in that referendum back then did not give their informed consent.”
He said it basically boils down to the Drinking Water Protection Act in B.C. mandating that water suppliers must supply potable water to the citizens.
“They’re not, because it is harming people,” he said.
Millership said his end game is one of two potential outcomes. One is the lawsuit goes through and damages are awarded to the plaintiff. At that point, with that precedent set, Millership said other municipalities will realize that they are liable.
“I’m hoping to set a precedent for children with dental fluorosis to stop this,” he said. “As soon as (a municipality) pays damages, it will stop, because they are not going to continue paying damages.”
Millership said his daughter will be staying with family here and he doesn’t want her drinking the fluoridated water, which spurred the case.
In B.C. Cranbrook is part of the small minority of municipalities that still adds fluoride to the water, along with Sparwood, Prince George, Fort St. John, Prince Rupert and Terrace.