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Saint John councillor says province should pay for water fluoridation

Click to play video: 'Fluoride debate surfaces in NB. Saint John city councillor says province should foot the bill' Fluoride debate surfaces in NB. Saint John city councillor says province should foot the bill
WATCH ABOVE: With the city of Moncton's five year moratorium on adding fluoride to its water set to end at the end of the year, the debate over fluoridation is warming up. As Global's Andrew Cromwell reports it should not be up to municipalities to add fluoride to their drinking water – Oct 3, 2016

The city of Moncton’s five-year moratorium on fluoridating its drinking water is up at the end of the year, and some residents are already calling for fluoridation to return.

The New Brunswick Dental Society says it doesn’t have statistics tracking tooth decay without fluoridated water, but one Moncton dentist says she’s seen a 50 per cent increase in tooth decay in children over the last five years.

A study out of the University of Calgary showed the increase in the number of cavities in unfluoridated Calgary water was higher than in Edmonton, where they still add fluoride to their water.

READ MORE: Calgary city council says no to re-assessing fluoride in tap water

Public Health in New Brunswick has a clear stance and says no further research is needed, they say fluoridation is a good thing.

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“All the research that has been done is unequivocal that fluoridation is a good thing,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s acting chief medical officer of health.

“It reduces cavities by about 30 per cent.”

Saint John voted to stop adding fluoride to its drinking water in 2014. Councillor David Merrithew voted to end fluoridation, saying it shouldn’t be the city’s responsibility.

“Health in the province of New Brunswick is the province’s responsibility, not the City of Saint John,” Merrithew said. “I think it’s another something that was downloaded on the City of Saint John and just shouldn’t have been.”

In a statement, the health department reiterated fluoridation of public drinking water is up to municipalities and their residents. The province says it “can only suggest best practices and does not provide any funding or requirements for fluoridation.”

Saint John is also in the midst of it’s $200 million Clean Safe Drinking Water project. The city hasn’t said if it will be equipped to deal with fluoride.

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