A Red Deer anti-fluoride group plans to rally outside City Hall on Canada Day to pressure the municipality to drop the controversial additive.
“We just want as many people to be aware that fluoride is in our water and that it’s not good for us,” said Ashlee Sanchez, who is with a group calling itself Red Deer Against Fluoride.
Sanchez said fluoridated water has been linked to fluorisis, a staining and pitting of teeth; thyroid disease; and brain damage, among other health problems. “It targets all of the body organs, including your nervous system.”
The fluoride debate has been waged in municipalities for decades. In February, Calgary city council voted 10-3 to stop adding fluoride to water after lengthy public debate.
Opponents say it is potentially harmful additive and putting it into water supplies amounts to forced medication.
Supporters, including the World Health Organization, argue the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence shows it is not a health risk at recommended levels and serves as a useful cavity fighter.
In January, the Canadian Dental Association came out in support of water fluoridation, saying that more than 90 international scientific and medical organizations, including Health Canada, the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Public Health Association, support the use of fluoride as a “safe and effective measure to prevent tooth decay.”
Health Canada studied fluoride in 2008 and concluded that water fluoridated at optimum levels causes no adverse health effects and there is no evidence to suggest children shouldn’t drink fluoridated water. Alberta Health Services also supports fluoridation.
Red Deer city council recently debated the merits of taking the fluoride issue to a plebiscite. After much debate, council opted to undertake a “public conversation” to get a sense of how residents want to see the issue handled.
After public feedback is gathered, council plans to debate whether to go to a citizen vote on fluoride or decide the issue without a plebiscite. Council set no deadlines for the public consultation process.
Sanchez said council needs to move faster.
“They are not informing the people. They are not giving people both sides of the story,” she said. “They’re just saying let the people decide.”
Red Deer Against Fluoride members will distribute information at the event set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in City Hall Park.
To get more information, go to Facebook and type in Red Deer Against Fluoride.