Moncton City Council voted on Monday to maintain the status quo and keep fluoride out of the region’s water supply — unless directed to do so by the federal or provincial governments.
Despite pleas from dentists to restore fluoride to the water supply in Moncton, N.B., the decision was made by a vote of six to three.
While federal and provincial governments set guidelines for fluoridation, the decision to use fluoride is left up to municipalities.
Moncton ended fluoride use in 2011.
Before Monday night’s vote, Councillor Shawn Crossman had said he would vote against restoring fluorine to the water.
He told The Canadian Press that he had spent the last seven months reading studies and listening to the public, and hasn’t seen any evidence to prove that fluoride prevents tooth decay.
“There’s nothing there that says fluoride is stopping tooth decay, absolutely nothing,” he said.
Suzanne Drapeau-McNally, a Moncton-area dentist, has reported seeing a dramatic increase in tooth decay among young children ever since.
“Children who previously had no cavities, all of a sudden come in and have a higher number of decays,” Drapeau-McNally said.
Dr. Jennifer Russel, New Brunswick’s acting chief medical officer of health, issued a statement before the decision.
“Published and peer-reviewed quality literature continues to demonstrate the benefit of water fluoridation. Fluoridated drinking water greatly reduces the number of dental cavities in children’s teeth, the single most common preventable childhood disease. The safety of water fluoridation continues to be supported by current science and, when water is fluoridated at optimum levels, it does not cause adverse health effects,” said Russel.
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Councillors Shawn Crossman, Paulette Thériault, Blair Lawrence, Charles Leger, Pierre Boudreau and Bryan David Butler voted for the motion while Councillors Greg Turner, Robert McKee and Susan Edget voted against.
Big cities including Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Halifax and Winnipeg fluoridate. Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver don’t, along with Waterloo and Windsor in southern Ontario.
City council in Saint John, N.B., voted against fluoride in 2014.
— With files from The Canadian Press