Alberta Health Services wants the province to stop Calgary from taking fluoride out of the drinking water.

City council voted in February by a margin of 10-3 to stop adding fluoride to the city's drinking water.


Dr. Richard Musto, Calgary's medical officer of health, wants the province to block the city from removing fluoride from the drinking water. (CBC)

But Dr. Richard Musto, Calgary's medical officer of health — a position appointed by Alberta Health Services (AHS) — says removing fluoride from the water is a bad decision.

"We believe the evidence is clear that communal water fluoridation — which is an adjustment of the normal level of fluoride — safely reduces cavities in the people who drink the water".

Ald. Druh Farrell, who led the campaign to end fluoridation, said provincial intervention could set a troubling precedent for other municipalities.

"We anticipated some bumps in the road. It is significant for cities, though, if an outside body can tell a city how to manage their water when it comes to health," she said.

AHS is urging Alberta Environment to reject the city's application to alter its water treatment licence in order to end fluoridation, which costs about $750,000 per year.

If that happens, Farrell suggested the province be asked to shoulder the cost of continuing to add fluoride to Calgary's water, the equipment for which is due for multi-million dollar upgrades.

"… will the health region then pick that up?" Farrell said.