A concerned resident has created an online petition in the hope of giving Red Deer citizens the choice on whether they want to be exposed to fluoride or not.
“I just want clean water,” said Dwight Roux, who posted the petition on April 8.
The married denturist and father of three has been researching the compound’s origin, history, benefits and adverse health effects for the past three months. He’s paying $30 monthly for filtered drinking water that is fluoride-free.
Knowing his family is exposed to the cavity-fighting chemical when they eat out or take a shower inspired Roux to urge city council to remove fluoride from the water supply.
He would like council to approve removing the substance without taking the debate to a plebiscite in 2013.
He argued those opposed to fluoride will continue to be stripped of their right to chose if the vote outcome is to keep fluoride in the system.
“People need to be able to decide what’s best for their health; otherwise, it’s really a violation of people’s individual bodies,” agreed Councillor Paul Harris, who supports the removal of fluoride.
“My position is that we need to take it out of the water and allow people to have a choice, whether they want to use it.”
Those who want to use the element can find it in toothpaste, mouthwash, topical treatments, drops and tablets, Harris said.
Opponents are also concerned the compound is toxic and causes adverse health effects.
Roux believes fluoride was responsible for further suppressing his wife’s underactive thyroid and Health Canada’s website notes high doses of the compound consumed over long periods of time can lead to issues like brittle bones.
The site, however, goes on to say this level is significantly higher than what Canadians are exposed to daily.
Health Canada says a fluoride level of 0.7 mg per litre is optimal for the promotion of dental health. Red Deer levels are between 0.7 mg per litre and 0.8 mg litre.
Roux and Harris were disappointed to learn Tuesday that Alberta Health Services has urged Alberta Environment to reject Calgary’s bid to end fluoridation.
Even though Calgary council voted in February to remove the chemical that prevents tooth decay from its water, the province must approve changing the terms of the city’s water operating licence.
City council is considering a plebiscite concerning fluoride with the next municipal election in 2013.
Council will decide how to proceed after it receives a report about the pros and cons of fluoridation. City administration will present it on May 16.
A plebiscite on fluoride in the water was last held in the mid-1950s and the water treatment plant has been legally required to continue this practice since.
Roux plans to deliver the petition to council before the May 16 meeting.
The petition can be accessed at www.gopetition.com/petition/44571.html
There were more than 70 signatures as of early Tuesday evening.
Concerned residents have also created a Facebook group called Citizens United to remove Fluoride from Red Deer’s water supply.