The Safe Water Coalition has once again stated its case to City Council of Prince George, asking that the City stop the practice of adding fluoride to the City’s drinking water.
Mayor Dan Rogers invited the four members of the Coalition to the centre table in Council Chambers, and, as is customary, told the speakers there was water at either end of the table for their use.
There were no takers.
The Safe Water Coalition presented information from a number of reports which cite a variety of studies of health issues linked to different levels of fluoridation. The studies presented noted lowered IQ in children with borderline iodine deficiency when the fluoride is 0.9ppm, to studies which concluded there was a lowering of thyroid activity in the Ukraine when the level was 2.3 ppm.
The amount of fluoride added to the City of Prince George water supply is 0.7 ppm.
The argument placed before City Council focused on three points:
1) Is it effective in preventing cavities?
2) Is it safe?
3) Is it ethical?
In his presentation to Council, Dr. James Beck, Professor Emeritus of Medical Biophysics at the University of Calgary and co-author of “The Case Against Fluoride”, said the first two are scientific questions “The first of which is not very difficult to answer; the second of which is complex and not completely proven one way or the other; and the third question is one we can judge without special training.”
Dr.Beck says the questionof ethics is clear “fluoridation fails to meet the following requirements of medical ethics: the drug must have been approved for specific use by a qualified body (usually governmental); the dose must be controlled; the recipient must have given informed consent; the effects on the individual must be monitored by a competent professional; and the recipient must be able to stop the administration at will. In fact, a city council that imposes fluoridation is doing what a licensed physician or dentist is not allowed to do.”
This is the second time the Safe Water Coalition has appeared before this particular Council. They appeared in late summer of 2009, at which time, Council thanked them for their presentation and said they would stick with status quo.
It costs the City of Prince George about $70 thousand a year for the fluoride and the infrastructure. The amount added to the Prince George water supply is 0.7 ppm, that is less than half of the Health Canada limit of 1.5 ppm.
As for its legal stand, the City of Prince George had authorization under the Provincial legislation “Municipalities and Enabling Act” when the City started adding fluoride in 1955.
Councillor Munoz says while she understands the Coalition would like to have Council decide to stop the fluoridation process, she says she doesn’t feel she can make that kind of decision for the entire community when it’s a public health matter.
Councillor Garth Frizzell says he is compelled by the fluoride panel, “I haven’t found anything that speaks vividly against this. When health issues are brought up they are important to us, but when a body of evidence is brought up, the weight of evidence is in favour of fluoridation.”
Mayor Dan Rogers says as Council has dealt with this issue over the years, “We’re not the experts,” said Mayor Rogers, who said Council yields to the expertise of the medical professionals in the community for advice on matters of health.
“It strikes me that part of this discussion shouldn’t be taken here, but should be with those in the community who are instructed to protect the public’s health” added the Mayor.
In February, Council in Calgary voted (10-3) in favour of removing fluoride from their city’s water supply. That vote followed a day long input session with the public. It should be noted though, that in addition to whatever health issue arguments were made , the City of Calgary spends about $750 thousand a year on fluoridation, and would soon be facing a multi- million dollar fluoridation system upgrades to its main water treatment plants.