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Montreal says no to fluoride

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.

Montreal is one of the last major cities in Canada to steadily reject water fluoridation but the fluoride debate eventually takes hold.

The legendary Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau was adamantly opposed to water fluoridation which is why the city never immersed itself in the debate.

This 1988 Sunday Morning documentary revisits some of the old issues in this much-debated topic.
• Fluoridating the water supply costs between 50 - 60 cents per person per year. This compares to $50 to $75 for a dentist to treat a simple cavity in a tooth.
• Many governments and health organizations including the Canadian Dental Association, Health Canada, the Canadian Medical Association and the World Health Organization endorse fluoridation of drinking water to prevent tooth decay.

• Montreal is one of the last major cities in North America without fluoridated water despite the fact that children in Quebec have twice as many cavities compared to the rest of Canada, Montreal continues to reject water fluoridation. A 1991 study by the Quebec Dental Association suggests Quebec children have 40 per cent more cavities than other children in Canada.
Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: March 13, 1988
Guest(s): Michael Fainstat, Hariette Fels, George Gillespie, Ernest Newbrun, John Osterman, Stephane Schwartz
Host: Linden MacIntyre
Reporter: Lynn Glazier
Duration: 10:31

Last updated: January 24, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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