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To fluoridate or not to fluoridate? That is Calgary's question

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To fluoridate or not to fluoridate? That is the question that Calgary's city council will soon face.

Yesterday, the city's Utilities and Environment committee voted to end fluoridation in the city's water supply. The decision now goes to city council, according to the Calgary Herald.

In the 1970s, Montreal and Vancouver rejected fluoridation. If council follows the committee's recommendation, Calgary would become the first major city since then to say no to it.

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Half a century ago, science was firmly on one side of the debate. Today, doctors and health researchers are stacking up on the other.

New fuel was added to the fluoride debate in recent months. The chemical has long been added to municipal water supplies because it has been shown to reduce cavities. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services recommended against fluoridation, suggesting overexposure causes spots on children's teeth. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a study this month that suggests a high intake of fluoride can put one at risk for bone abnormalities and fractures.

While most residents who attended the Calgary council committee meeting spoke against fluoride, health professionals who were present urged the committee to continue fluoridating the water supply. They offered study after study showing its benefits (fewer cases of tooth decay in areas where the water was fluoridated than those where it was not) and dismissed the problem of spotty teeth as a cosmetic concern, which only occurs in low rates in the region.

Where do you stand on the fluoride debate?

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About the Author

Dakshana Bascaramurty is a national news reporter who writes about race and ethnicity. She won a 2013 National Newspaper Award in beat reporting for her coverage of changing demographics in the 905 region. Previously, she was a feature writer for Globe Life. More

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