There are more than 350 Grande Prairie residents who are hoping to see the city join the likes of Calgary and Slave Lake in eliminating fluoride from the water supply.
Fluoridation has been present in municipal water in Alberta since the 1940s.
However a new change.org petition cites several studies that claim the negative repercussions of fluoridated water far outweigh the improvements it makes for oral health.
Mayor Bill Given says it affects more than just Grande Prairie, as Aquatera’s water supply serves the County of Grande Prairie and Town of Sexsmith as well.
“There would likely have to be a decision where all the councils were in agreement to make any changes. It would be very difficult to see one council make a change that would impact a different council’s residents.”
The petition has been circulating online for about two weeks now.
Given says no one has officially brought the request before council, but they are aware of the petition.
“It can be a divisive issue, but it’s one where there is well established science from a number of authorities. It wouldn’t surprise me if it came forward, but we are obviously always prepared to hear from residents in our community to discuss and debate the issues that they ask us to.”
Given says he hasn’t had the opportunity to do much research into the issue, but he tends to defer to the health authorities that continue to advocate the use of fluoride in municipal water supply.
“My preference is to take the advice of authorities like the Public Health Agency of Canada and those other federal authorities as we would do with regards to pretty much any other safety matter. There seems to be pretty strong agreement from all of those agencies like Health Canada and the UN that there are little or no measurable negative health impacts, while the positive dental benefits are pretty well established.”
Similar petitions have made the rounds in Grande Prairie in the past, with limited success.
You can find the link to the current petition here.
Photo via Flickr Creative Commons, user Joe Cheng