In an editorial note from the editors that explained the background of the letters published since May 27, 2019, on the fluoridation issue: On May 27, the Cape Breton Post published a column by Sydney resident Marlene Kane which called for a ban on water fluoridation. On June 6, the Post published a letter from Juliet Guichon, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary, who called the ban fear mongering. This prompted a response from many parts of the country and beyond.
Recently, there have been several letters in the Cape Breton Post about community water fluoridation, originating with an opinion piece by Marlene Kane on May 27.
We would like to address some of the misinformation about community water fluoridation, particularly that which comes from individual studies which should never automatically be applied to other communities in different parts of the world.
Kane references a study from Mexico. However, there are many socio-economic, cultural and environmental differences between Mexico City and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM). One big difference is the way people are exposed to fluoride.
In the Mexican study, fluoridation happened through fluoridated table salt and fluoride that naturally exists in varying degrees (even above the safe level guidelines established by Health Canada) in community water. Expert reviews of the Mexican study have concluded that because of these differences, the study results should not be used to make conclusions about the safety of community water fluoridation in other locations. Kane also points to a link between fluoridation and ADHD but there are no credible studies that support such claims.
Another claim is that there is a link between fluoride and reduced thyroid function. A rigorous scientific review of the study showed that because of numerous flaws in the study, the results appear to have no clinical significance.
We are firmly in support of community water fluoridation as a safe, effective and economical means of preventing tooth decay and protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities. This is consistent with over 90 reputable scientific and medical organizations, including the World Health Organization and Health Canada.
Community water fluoridation in Nova Scotia is controlled and monitored. The CBRM Water Utility operates under the regulations of the Nova Scotia Department of Environment Drinking Water Strategy. All water meets or exceeds some of the highest national safety standards for drinking water in Canada. The utility conducts more than 12,000 individual recorded tests every year (http://www.cbrm.ns.ca/faq-frequently-asked-questions.html) and CBRM specifically monitors the fluoride level in the water supply once every day, seven days per week.
We continuously monitor research that would affect the health of our communities. If at any time there is a significant shift in the conclusive evidence, our recommendations would be adjusted accordingly. Until this happens, we remain in strong support of community water fluoridation as a universal and accessible way to support good dental health outcomes in our communities.
Dr. Daniela Kempkens
(Regional Medical Officer of Health, Eastern Zone of Nova Scotia Health Authority )
Dr. Ferne Kraglund
(Oral Health Consultant, Department of Health and Wellness)
Dr. Robert Strang
(Chief Medical Officer of Health, Nova Scotia)
Note from Fluoride Action Network:
The following are the letters published in reaction to Marlene Kane’s May 27th letter: