Fluoridation is going to continue to be added to Whitecourt’s water supply despite one town councillor’s efforts to get it removed.
Coun. Darlene Chartrand made a motion to immediately stop putting fluoride into Whitecourt’s water.
She told the rest of her council at the regular meeting Oct. 11 that she has spent about 30 hours researching the topic.
“You do not medicate a population by adding something to the water. Myself I would like to make a motion to take it out of the water. It should never have been there to begin with,” said Chartrand.
The premise for her argument came from a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada made in 1957. The City of Toronto was going to add fluoride to its water supply but was challenged by a nearby small town that received water services from the city.
Chartrand said the Supreme Court decision said that a municipality does not have the authority to add a chemical to the water for medicinal purposes.
Chartrand said it was clear from the Sept. 22 fluoridation public information session held in Whitecourt, that both experts felt fluoridation was strictly to prevent cavities, a medical purpose.
As far as Chartrand is concerned, Whitecourt’s town council does not have the power to put fluoridation into the water.
“None of us sitting here are experts in health,” she said. “Alberta Health Services must be the one to demand communities to do it because it is a public health issue.
“In good conscience, I don’t believe we can continue to keep adding fluoridation in the water.
“This wrong needs to be undone.”
Other councillors didn’t feel the same way as Chartrand. Coun. Norm Hodgson said while his mind isn’t made up one way or another, as a pharmacist he bases his decisions on science, not legalities.
“We need someone to provide us with legal direction prior to making decisions,” he said, to which other councillors agreed.
Coun. Maryann Chichak also did not agree fluoride should be added to the water. Her concern stems from a question she hasn’t been able to have answered. There is a safe recommended intake of fluoride for a person, but nobody can tell her what that is.
“For me and my body weight, if I have eight glasses of water, am I over my recommended intake of fluoride?”
Coun. Williard Strebchuk said he didn’t want to vote on the motion to remove fluoride based on legal facts but rather on science and “our conscious.”
“We are not trying to poison our community. We are trying to do our best for our community,” said Strebchuk.
About 40 per cent of Alberta communities currently have fluoride in their water. Chartrand said the trend lately is that communities are removing it from the water source. She said in British Columbia, communities are removing it and creating dental health programs in schools instead, with better success.
“As a council. if we have even one citizen of this community that has a thyroid problem and drinking the fluoride water exacerbates the condition, that cannot be fixed, that is serious,” said Chartrand.
Coun. Derek Schlosser asked for a recorded vote on the motion. The motion to remove fluoride from the water was defeated as Chartrand and Chichak were the only ones in favour of it.