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Fluoride: how much is too much?

To fluoridate or not to fluoridate? That's the question at the centre of one of the longest debates in Canadian history. Advocates of water fluoridation say it's a safe and effective way to reduce cavities. Opponents like the outspoken broadcaster Gordon Sinclair called it rat poison and a despicable communist plot. Water fluoridation: Great public service or a gross infringement of individual rights? The debate rages on.

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While water fluoridation is approved and endorsed by the Canadian Dental Association, new research is shedding light on the growing concern of over-fluoridation.
Fluoride is still considered safe in water supplies at one part per million but many of us may receive beyond that amount. Fluoride can be increasingly found in everyday consumer products such as baby formulas, mouthwash, toothpaste and processed foods.

The concern is that dental fluorisis may lead to skeletal flurosis which can cause severe arthritic symptoms. One of the first signs of skeletal fluorisis, according to Dr. Hardy Limeback is achy joints.
Dr. Limeback, University of Toronto dentistry professor, sends the dental world in a tizzy with his findings. He used to side with the pro-water fluoridation camp but his research makes him change his stance.

He concludes to the delight of fluoride opponents such as nutritionist Janet Budgell, that since the element is present in various other sources there's no longer the need to continue adding fluoride in our drinking supply.
He goes to say that some children are getting too much of the stuff in fluoridated communities.

It's a controversial stance and one that is refuted by the Canadian Dental Association as voiced in this report by Dr. Hazel Stewart, Director of Toronto Public Health.

Everyone agrees that more study is needed into fluoridation.
• On Dec. 12, 2001, the town of Cobalt became the first community in Ontario to vote against water fluoridation.
• Halifax added fluoride to its water supply in 1956.
• Saint John began fluoridating its water supply in 1992.
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: June 3, 1999
Guest(s): Janet Budgell, Hardy Limeback, Hazel Stewart
Host: Suhana Meharchand
Duration: 7:53

Last updated: April 20, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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