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UK Against Fluoridation

Friday, September 09, 2016

Canada - Interim fluoride fix put in place

A change has been made to the city's drinking water.
Tanner Leonhardt looks at a pump display on the interim fluoridation system at Brantford's  water treatment plant on Grand River Avenue. The system uses liquid fluoride instead of a powdered form. (Brian Thompson/The Expositor)A new temporary fluoridation system, in place since July, uses liquid fluoride instead of the powdered form. The change was made to ensure the city's drinking water has enough fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.
The new system started on July 25 and within a day the flouridation concentration levels in the city's drinking water had reached the appropriate level, says Maria Visocchi, the city's manager of communications.
The temporary system will remain in place until the design and implementation of a permanent solution. The permanent system will cost an estimated $200,000 and will take several months to complete.
The city decided to make a change after learning that its fluoridation system wasn't delivering the proper amount of fluoride to residents.
The powdered fluoride had a tendency to not completely dissolve and to settle downstream at the injection point. As a result, not enough fluoride was in the water when it reached city residents and the subsequent accumulation of the powder at the injection point led to breakdowns.
When the question of changing the system came before council last May, some councillors questioned whether it is still necessary to add fluoride to the water system given changes in public health. One councillor stated his belief in the benefits of fluoride but suggested the question should be put directly to city residents in a vote at the next municipal election.
"I don't think the debate will go away any time soon," says Dr. Malcolm Lock, Brant County's medical officer of health. "However, the vast amount of evidence supports adding fluoride to our water supply in order to prevent dental caries (cavities) for all ages, not just children."
The practice of adding fluoride in drinking water is strongly supported by a large amount of Canadian and international research. The American Dental Association estimates that water fluoridation effectively reduces tooth decay by 20 to 40 per cent.
Water fluoridation is one example of adding a substance to drinking water to prevent illness. Another common example is adding chlorine to a water supply to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases, such as E. coli, cholera and typhoid.
"Some believe that anything in addition to our water supply is considered a chemical, but if we don't add chlorine to our water, then we have a contaminated water supply," says Lock.
There can many reasons why people are against adding fluoride to drinking water. Some are concerned about an over-intake of fluoride contributing to health problems, with links drawn to cancer, bone fractures and intelligence levels.
Other common reasons including industrial-grade fluorides being harmful to animals and the environment, fluoridation additives being byproducts of the phosphate fertilizer industry, the ability to choose, and products like toothpaste accommodating our fluoride needs, leaving water fluoridation as a possibility for overexposure.
"There's always pros and cons to any initiative put forward by the city for a variety of reasons," says Lock. "Some people believe there are negative effects to adding fluoride into our water supply, though science simply does not support that."
A natural occurring mineral, fluoride can be found in rocks, soil, air and water sources at a variety of levels. Scientists discovered the proactive effects of fluoride against tooth decay in the 1930s and 1940s.
Fluoride helps make the enamel of a tooth stronger. Water fluoride works two way: it covers teeth and is ingested into the body to help fight decay.
Grand Rapids, Mich., became the first city to fluoridate its water supply in January 1945. Brantford was the first Canadian city to fluoridate its water, beginning in June 1945 and many other cities soon adopted the practice.
However, in recent years some municipalities including Waterloo Region, Calgary and Windsor have stopped fluoridating their municipal drinking water.
Waterloo stopped the practice following a referendum six years ago, while Calgary city council voted to stop it five years ago.
In Brantford, the issue came before council in 2010 when a group opposed to fluoridation tried to convince council that it was bad for residents' health, ineffective against tooth decay and cost the city too much money. Councillors however, rejected the argument.

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