A REFERENDUM to end the fluoridation of drinking water may be coming to Terrace.
City council voted Jan. 13 to explore the idea after several councillors called fluoride an unnecessary poison in the drinking water.
Councillor Rich McDaniel said recent research indicates the health hazards of fluoridation outweigh the benefits. “Terrace is one of only nine communities in the province still adding fluoride to its drinking water,” he said.
McDaniel also noted fluoridation now costs the city up to $30,000 per year. Councillor David Hull is backing the idea.
“It’s highly toxic,” Hull said. “It’s a poisonous caustic chemical in our water. And it’s unregulated mass dosing of the people.”
He also said the dose is self-controlled in at the more tap water you drink, the more fluoride you take in.
The chemical has long been added to water systems to combat tooth decay. It’s considered particularly effective in preventing tooth decay in children and among low-income people.
Fluoride may be great for teeth, critics say, but there’s no good reason to ingest it, bathe in it or water lawns with it.
About five per cent of B.C. residents have fluoridated water, a number that has declined over the years. Alberta, in contrast, has a 75 per cent fluoridation rate, and 40 per cent of Canadians have fluoride in their water.
Water fluoridation is backed by national organizations of dentists and doctors, and by the World Health Organization.
The provincial health planning ministry also concludes fluoridation is safe.
“The safety of community water fluoridation has been studied more thoroughly than any other public health measure during the past 50 years,” says a fact sheet on the government web site.
It says hundreds of studies have shown fluoridation at proper levels has no harmful effects, and that there is no evidence of a link to cancer or problems with other parts of the body.
McDaniel says there’s already some naturally occuring fluoride in Terrace’s untreated water – about 0.1 to 0.2 parts per million.
Most fluoridation systems adjust the level up to 0.8 to 1.0 parts per million.
The other eight fluoridating communities in B.C. are Prince Rupert, Burns Lake, Prince George, Williams Lake, Fort St. John, Golden, Sparwood and Cranbrook.
Mackenzie was the latest to end fluoridation after a referendum in November.
City administration are to report back to council after researching the issue.