The City of Moncton wants to know what you think of fluoride in your drinking water
The city reminds residents that Friday is the last day to register for a public meeting to discuss whether the city should continue to fluoridate its water supply.
And if early indications of interest in the subject – judging from the number of letters to the Times & Transcript and online discussion – the June 8 meeting will be full of lively debate.
Councillor Paulette Theriault, who says she is opposed to water fluoridation, is eager to hear from the public.
“I have received so many letters and information from both sides on this issue,” she said. “We really need to weigh the pros and cons.”
About three hours have been dedicated for the meeting for residents to present their information, thoughts and opinions about water fluoridation. Most have taken a firm stance on either side but Theriault says the issue needs to see a process of major clarification.
“It seems easy to make a decision but it’s actually quite complex, like every other issue that comes before council.”
It hasn’t yet been determined how the final decision will be made but the first step towards settling the issue is the public meeting.
Councillor Paul Pellerin hopes that citizens on both sides of the debate share their thoughts.
“Once we gather as much input from the citizens and organizations, council will debate the file and its merits and decide,” he said.
Theriault believes it is likely that the file will go through city council’s Sustainable Environment Committee, which is chaired by Pellerin, as it’s the most closely related to the issue.
Both councillors says the city will also examine how other municipalities have handled the issue, with regards to recent decisions by councils in Waterloo, Ont., Calgary and Cape Breton.
“We’re not inventing the wheel here,” Theriault said.
“Many other Canadian cities have tackled this.”
Hydrofluorosilicic acid is the inorganic compound commonly used for water fluoridation.
The acid is also used to convert into aluminium fluoride and cryolite. These materials are the basis of the conversion of aluminium ore into aluminium metal.
This is what prompted the creation of the website www.fluoridefreemoncton.ca.
The site’s creators believe fluoridation is essentially putting unnecessary acidic compounds in drinking water.
The site also points out that Fredericton doesn’t add fluoride to its water and since 1990, another 23 cities across Canada have stopped fluoridation as a result of public protests.
Moncton’s water treatment plant has been including fluoride since the 1960s and has followed strict regulations from Health Canada, says the director of water systems, Ensor Nicholson.
The measurement of fluoride in the city’s water is 0.7 milligrams per litre.
Two local dentists publicly argued in support of water fluoridation recently. Dr. Donald Joyce and Dr. Larry Peacocke say it’s a great benefit for many families to have this service.
“When income level or ability to receive routine dental care is a barrier to receiving its health benefits … Fluoridated water greatly reduces the number of cavities in children’s teeth,” their letter read.
The dentists also state that “relevant medical and scientific literature over many years have consistently failed to find evidence that fluoridation has any effect on the health of the body other than reducing tooth decay.”
* Residents wishing to register for the public meeting can call 853-3550 or e-mail their request to firstname.lastname@example.org