Charlottetown’s new water system will have fluoride: city councillor

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.30.47 AM
Councillor Edward Rice after a Charlottetown council meeting Jan. 11. Brenlee Brothers photo.

By Brenlee Brothers

Jan. 19, 2016

Fluoride will continue to be added to the water system in Charlottetown as it’s redeveloped, says water and sewer councillor Edward Rice after a city council meeting Jan. 11.

The new system will proceed in the spring with a $20 million pipeline, after the federal government develops a fresh infrastructure program.

“The new system at the present time will have fluoride,” Rice said.

However, there’s a movement afoot across the country that questions fluoride, he said.

He has brought up the causes and concerns affecting fluoride to management, Rice said.

“They just turned purple. They think it’s wrong to take it out.”

Charlottetown municipalities began fluoridating the water in 1968 after a plebiscite confirmed a majority of residents wanted fluoridation.

At that time, there were no dental plans for the average family, so health concerns prompted the fluoridation as a health practice.

“I happen to be old enough to remember the first battle for it. I was only a child, but when it was put in, it caused a great deal of stir amongst the population,” Rice said.

Craig Walker is the utility manager for water and sewer Charlottetown.

Fluoride in city water is promoted as a health practice that should continue, he said.

“For as long as fluoride has been added to the water, it’s been controversial as to whether it’s the right thing or the wrong thing to be doing.”

It’s done a certain way and the concentrations used are quite low, but a lot of research can be shown where there’s support in both areas, Walker said.

“You go to the people who know why we do what we do, and what value it is, or isn’t and you hear both sides of the story and you make a decision.”

As for Rice, he is gathering more information, he said.

“We have advocates that want to remove it here and they are as strong in their beliefs as the other people are.”

It’s going to be a learning process, but it’s something on the radar, Rice said.

He will discuss it with the new supervisor coming for the water and sewer.

“I’ve asked that some data be gathered for us, because the question is going to hit us, so at least have a file built so we can turn around and answer the question.”