The Fluoride Debate

The debate over fluoride in our drinking water has raged across Canada for half-a-century. And now a proposal to ditch the fluoride in Calgary's water has re-ignited a fight over safety, liberty and good oral hygiene.


Fluoride - Panel

We started this segment with a clip from broadcaster, Gordon Sinclair speaking on CBC Radio in February of 1959. At the time, Toronto had approved a plan to add fluoride to the city's drinking water. But it was facing a wave of protests and legal challenges. In the end, the issue went to a plebiscite and fluoridation passed by the slimmest of margins.

Today, a similar debate is raging in Calgary. But this time, city council is weighing a motion to get rid of fluoride treatment. Calgary wouldn't be the first municipality to take this step. In the early 2000's, several communities in British Columbia voted to get rid of fluoride. Whitehorse got rid of fluoride in 1998. And Waterloo, Ontario voted to quit treating its water with fluoride in November.

Druh Farrell will be forwarding the motion at Calgary City Council. She's a City Councillor in Calgary. Dr. Richard Musto is the Medical Officer of Health for Alberta Health Services. He was also in Calgary.

Fluoride - Allan Freeze

We started this segment with a scene from Stanley Kubrick's dark comedy, Dr. Strangelove. The character -- Brigadier General Jack Ripper -- is a parody. But fears of fluoridation are well-entrenched.

Allan Freeze has documented the history of those fears. He's a retired Professor of Geological Engineering at the University of British Columbia. He spent four decades as a consulting engineer on water contamination problems around the world. And he's also the co-author with Jay Lehr of The Fluoride Wars: How a Modest Public Health Measure Became America's Longest Running Political Melodrama. Allan Freeze was in Vancouver.

Fluoride Song

We played a song about fluoride called Water Crimes by New Zealand hip hop artist Trillion.

Related Links:

Last Word - Beavers

We ended the program today with a preview of something The Current's Howard Goldenthal is working on for later this week ... a story about a Canadian icon and how it's creating havoc across Europe. Howard got the last word today.

Other segments from today's show:

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