Northern Health voices concerns over fluoride ban


Photo: Health officials and Northern Health representatives present a report to City Council on Monday night (Left to Right) Dental Hygenist Tammy Gulevich, Dentist Amy Tseng,  Northern Health’s Manager for Prevention in the Northeast Nick Oliphant, Medical Health Officer with Northern Health Doctor Charl Badenhorst and Dental Hygenist Linda Bourcet. – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.ca

The City’s decision to ban fluoride from Fort St. John’s water supply is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of some health officials.

On Monday night’s City Council meeting, a crew of dentists, dental hygienists and Northern Health representatives presented a report on the benefits of fluoride in the city’s water supply.

Doctor Charl Badenhorst is a Medical Health Officer with Northern Health. He urged councilors to hold a referendum and let the community decide whether or not fluoride should be banned.

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In June, concerned resident Dorothy Folk asked Council to remove the chemical from the water supply. She cited fluoride as poisonous and unnecessary.

But Northern Health says this is not true. In fact, Dental Hygienist Linda Bourcet says the chemical is vital for low-income families who cannot afford routine dental maintenance. She says especially with children, the chemical builds up over time and protects teeth.

Bourcet says six per cent of B.C.’s population has fluoride added to its water, compared to 80 per cent in Alberta. Northern Health couldn’t pinpoint why there is such a gap between the two neighboring provinces.

Now, the City still wants to decide wither or not to remove the fluoride from the city’s supply.

Councilor Don Irwin says he is looking forward to reviewing all sides of the debate.

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Councilor Lori Ackerman confirmed with Bourcet that if residents want fluoride out of the water supply, they could purchase an at-home reverse osmosis filtering system.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bruce Lantz says it is unknown at this time if there will be a referendum.

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