New Brunswick

Moncton considers water fluoride experiment

Moncton councillors will vote next Monday on a proposal to remove fluoride from the city's water supply for five years.

Dieppe voted to remove fluoride, while Riverview wants to keep the supplement

Moncton is trying to negotiate a compromise in the debate over whether fluoride will continue to be used in the local water supply.

Riverview councillors voted in October to keep fluoride in the region's water supply, while Dieppe councillors voted this week to request that fluoride be taken out of the water.

Those who favour fluoride say it's done wonders for reducing the number of cavities in children. Those who oppose it say it's dangerous and an invasion of rights.

A Moncton group began calling for fluoride to be removed from the water supply in June.

After that request, Moncton councillors began holding public meetings on the contentious issue.

The city is expected to discuss a proposal at its next council meeting on Monday that will take fluoride out of the regional water supply for five years.

Coun. Paul Perllerin said the proposal is an experiment to see whether there are any noticeable changes in health statistics.

"Base it on five years, just to compare one statistic to the other statistic to actually see if it is in fact because of the fluoride that's in the water."

Pellerin said there's a small amount of naturally occurring fluoride in the water, which may be sufficient to provide the health benefits touted by dentists and the province.

Research help requested

The city is also looking for some research help from the provincial government and other groups that have been advocating on this issue.

Paul Thomson, the city’s communications director, said Moncton will ask the provincial government and the New Brunswick Dental Society to study what is going on in Moncton and other municipalities that have taken fluoride out of the water.

"There's enough municipalities out there that either fluoridate or don't fluoridate to get some really good analysis on the population," he said.

This recommendation must be approved by a majority of councillors at Monday's council meeting.