Members of Calgary city council approved a notice of motion to permit researchers an audience in council to present findings on the introduction of fluoride into the water supply.
Council voted in favour of Ward 13 councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart’s notice of motion, by a vote of 13-2, that will allow the University of Calgary’s O’Brien Institute for Public Health to conduct an assessment. Ray Jones and Sean Chu were the lone councillors to oppose the notice.
The findings of the researchers must be presented to council prior to July 2019.
Calgary stopped adding fluoride to the water supply in 2011. At the time, the cost of adding fluoride to the water was approximately $750,000 a year.
“It was really a negative decision made by a number of uniformed individuals,” said Leonard Smith, a pediatric dentist, of Calgary’s 2011 decision to halt fluoride. “Fluoride has been shown over countless studies to be one of the best health measures.”
Colley-Urquhart had presented a similar notice in 2016, following the release of a University of Calgary study on adolescent tooth decay, but it was defeated in council by a vote of 9-5.
Ward 11 councillor Jeromy Farkas says water fluoridation in Calgary is not only a health issue but he considers council’s decision to remove fluoride to be a moral issue.
“If it was brought in with a plebiscite, it should have gone out with a plebiscite,” said Farkas following Monday’s council vote. “If 15 members of council are going to unilaterally overrule the will of Calgarians who voted not just once but twice in a referendum to bring something in, it doesn’t matter what that thing is, I find it just unacceptable.”
Farkas believes the data collected during the study should be shared with Calgarians and he suggests water fluoridation should be included on the ballot in the next municipal election.