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City preps fluoride info ahead of referendum

The City of Cranbrook is preparing for a November 15 municipal election, and part of that will include a referendum on fluoridation of the water supply. Since 1966, Cranbrook has added fluoride to the water supply in the form of hydrofluorosilicic acid.

The city put out information on the referendum recently with the notice that it will host a public open house with Canadian health experts on both sides of the fluoride debate talking about the subject. The exact date, time and location will be announced in early September, but it will likely occur in early October.

“The City is informing residents about the water system and water fluoridation, and will host an open house on this topic in early October,” the statement from the city noted.

The actual referendum question will be: “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?”

In the referendum, a “yes” vote means you are in favour of eliminating fluoride, while a “no” vote means continuing to add fluoride.

The city also put up a brief history of fluoridation on its website. Fluoridation began in Cranbrook after a referendum in 1966. The city noted that at the time fluoride was gaining recognition worldwide as a cost-effective way to reduce cavities and many North American communities started to add it to water systems from 1940 onward. Fluoride can be found in a host of everyday products, including dental care products, tea, processed food and drink, mechanically deboned meat, teflon pans, pesticides and fluorinated pharmaceuticals.

Cranbrook Public Works uses a small metering pump at the Phillips Reservoir  to transfer the fluoride from a storage tank in the potable water stream. The city said it aims for a concentration of 0.8 mg/l(ppm), which is within the guidelines set by Health Canada — between 0.7 mg/l and 1.5 mg/l.

Cranbrook is one of six communities in the province that still adds fluoride to the water supply, which accounts for three per cent of the population of the province. The other communities are Fort Saint John, Prince George, Sparwood and Terrace. Prince Rupert is listed as a community that adds fluoride, but according to its website currently doesn’t as it needs to upgrade the fluoride system at some point.

If you have questions about the fluoride referendum, contact the city at fluoride@cranbrook.ca.

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