Flouride use questioned

Mayoral candidate Scott Nelson thinks the city has misinformed the public on fluoridation.

Mayoral candidate Scott Nelson thinks the city has misinformed the public on fluoridation.

Nelson says he believes the public still thinks the city is injecting fluoride into the water despite a May press release to the contrary, indicating the practice has been discontinued since 2005.

Nelson further questioned information posted on the City’s website that says, “Currently, the city allocates $22,246 annually for the purchase and delivery of fluoride.”

Says Nelson, “That leaves the inference that they’re adding fluoride and that they’re spending $23,000 every year for the purchase and the delivery of the fluoride. I think that is extraordinarily misleading.”

City chief administrative officer Brian Carruthers says the City ceased fluoridating the water when upgrades to the fluoride handling and dispensing facilities to bring the facility up to Workers Compensation Board standards were undertaken. The idea at that time, says Carruthers, was to restart fluoridating once the system upgrades had been completed; however, by that time the City had become aware of how much more it would cost to purchase fluoride. That was, in part, due to a lack of demand from B.C. municipalities which meant there were fewer suppliers and the city would have to purchase the fluoride from a company in Manitoba. Carruthers says the City became aware of the increased cost of fluoride in the last “few years.”

More recently the water advisory committee encouraged the City to re-examine whether fluoride injection should occur at all.

Nelson says that when he was mayor, $160,000 was spent on the system upgrades and that fluoride was still being injected into the water up until 2007-08.

According to Carruthers, 2005 was the last year fluoride was purchased. He says the City budgets $20,000 annually for fluoride upgrades and in 2005 spent $8,300, in 2006 it spent $2,400, in 2007, $11,391, in 2008 there was no spending, in 2009 spent $2,727 and in 2010 and 11 there was nothing spent on upgrades.

Carruthers says that money comes out of the City’s water fund and if the budgeted amount isn’t spent it stays in the fund.

“If the money isn’t spent on fluoridation it doesn’t mean we go out and fill more potholes. It stays in the water fund,” he says.

The City will host a public information forum on fluoridation Oct. 27 from 5-8 p.m. at the fire hall. In order to cease fluoridation the city requires ministerial approval or must  hold a referendum on the matter. A referendum will be held during the Nov. 19 municipal election. The question to voters will be: The cost to add fluoride to the City’s water system is increasing from $22,000 per year to approximately $94,000 per year. Are you in favour of the City continuing to add fluoride to its water supply?