The City of Prince George is denying claims made in a class action lawsuit that some residents suffer a degenerative dental disease by drinking the city’s fluoridated water.
Any injury, loss, damage or expenses due to dental fluorosis “was not caused by the fluoridation of water by the defendant,” the city said in a response filed at the Prince George courthouse this week to a notice of civil claim submitted in March by Kevin Millership.
Millership maintains one in 10 people in Prince George have “objectionable” dental fluorosis, a mottling of the tooth enamel that, in the mild form, causes paper white spots or streaks on tooth enamel, worsening to orange and brown stained teeth with pitted and eroded sections that are more prone to decay in the more severe cases.
He also claims most dental plans do not cover the cost of treatment that can range from $1,000 to $100,000 per person with treatment ongoing for a lifetime in some cases, in addition to the psychological damage sufferers face.
He is seeking damages from the city on behalf of those who have the condition.
In its response, the city says Millership has not identified an applicable standard of care and suggests the causes of dental fluorosis include using fluoridated toothpaste or mouth rinses or receiving dental fluoride treatments as a child.
Consuming water or beverages from a fluoridated water system other than the city’s and consuming naturally fluoridated water as a child are also cited as causes.
The city also argues those who have dental fluorosis have failed to get proper treatment, such as tooth bleaching, micro-abrasion or getting composite restorations or veneers, to mitigate against the effects.
It also goes on to note Millership’s failed attempt to win his own lawsuit against Kamloops over the issue. Millership has maintained his action was dismissed largely because he took too long to launch the case but nonetheless had established causation between his condition and drinking fluoridated water.
The city also notes a subsequent class action Millership launched against Cranbrook ended in March with a consent dismissal order that had the “same force and effect” as if a judge had dismissed the case following a trial.
However, Millership has said the order was issued only after Cranbrook had reached a settlement with him that included holding a referendum on the issue. A similar referendum is already scheduled for Prince George this November.