Next week residents will have a chance to see both sides of the fluoride debate for themselves before deciding the fate of Cranbrook fluoridation system in the November referendum.
The city is hosting an open house detailing the water system and water fluoridation on Thursday Oct. 23 at the Manual Training Centre.
Starting at 7 p.m. Canadian health experts on both sides of the fluoride issue will debate the merits and drawbacks of the fluoridation of the water supply.
The debate will be moderated by David Walls, president and CEO of the College of the Rockies. The speakers will be available to meet the public and respond to questions for the remainder of the evening.
The speakers are:
– Dr. Alastair Nicoll of the BC Dental Association and an area dentist who will discuss the advantages of adding fluoride to the public water system.
– Dr. James Beck, Professor Emeritus for Medical Biophysics at the University of Calgary and co-author of ‘ The Case Against Fluoride’, who is a vocal advocate for removing fluoride from the water system.
The referendum comes just over a year after Kevin Millership, a Slocan Valley resident launched a class action lawsuit against the city seeking damages for dental fluorosis.
In his lawsuit, Millership alleged that the city has a duty of care for its residents and is negligently harming members of the suit by adding fluoride to drinking water.
In November, 2013, the city confirmed that it was in the process of a settlement. Millership said that he had asked the city to hold a referendum in November 2014, with a process of education and consultation leading up to the referendum.
The city began fluoridating the water back in 1968 based on a 1966 referendum.
Since the 1990s the number of municipalities fluoridating the water supply has dropped and in B.C. Cranbrook is part of the small minority of municipalities that still adds fluoride to the water, along with Sparwood, Prince George, Fort St. John, Prince Rupert and Terrace. Of those, Sparwood and Prince George are also holding referendums on whether to continue adding fluoride. Terrace explored the idea, but ended up delaying the referendum. Prince Rupert currently doesn’t add fluoride to the water supply as the injection system is off-line.
The electoral assent on whether or not to continue adding fluoride to the City of Cranbrook water system will be held as part of the municipal election on November 15, 2014. All eligible voters are encouraged to participate.
The question will ask: “Are you in favour of Council adopting City of Cranbrook Cease Fluoridation Bylaw No. 3799, 2014, which authorizes stopping the addition of fluoride to the municipal water supply effective January 1, 2015?”
The electoral assent question will be part of the official ballot providing you with an opportunity to choose either “yes” or “no”. A yes vote means you want to eliminate fluoride from our water, while a no vote means continuing to add it.
The City of Cranbrook’s website also provides public information about the fluoride electoral assent question, the history of water fluoridation in Cranbrook and a place to learn more about fluoride with links to studies, reports and opinions around the pros and cons of water fluoridation. Visit www.cranbrook.ca/fluoride for more information.