By: Charles Hamilton, The StarPhoenix, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 28-Aug-2013 – Saskatoon’s latest anti-fluoride campaign is taking aim at one of the city’s top officials.
Posters up downtown Saskatoon lay the blame for city’s water fluoridation squarely at the feet of the city’s utility services manager Jeff Jorgenson.
The posters quote Jorgenson speaking a city council meeting back in December 2012 where he said that the fluoride in Saskatoon’s water was “completely safe.”
The man who designed the poster is standing behind the claims, even while the leaders of Saskatoon’s anti-fluoride movement distance themselves from it.
“He made those comments. I’m just telling people what he said,” said Kris Eyvendson, an anti-fluoride advocate who put up the posters. “The only reason fluoride is in the water is to medicate people. I don’t think the government has the right to medicate the people against their will.”
Fluoridated water is endorsed by virtually every credible health organization in North America, including Health Canada, the Centre for Disease Control and numerous dental associations.
But in recent years, a number of Canadian cities have stopped adding the chemical into their water supply. Waterloo, Calgary and Windsor are among the most recent major municipalities to stop adding fluoride. Smaller municipalities like Okotoks, Alta., Lasalle, Ont., and Moncton, N.B. have also quit adding fluoride.
In 2011, Saskatoon did temporarily suspend the addition of fluoride to its treated water during a construction project to upgrade the city’s water treatment plant.
“During this period, the Health Region expressed repeated concerns about the lack of fluoridation, and were very interested in the city getting the fluoride equipment back in operation,” Jorgenson said in a written statement.
Since the completion of the plant, fluoridation has resumed.
“The city follows the fluoridation guidelines set out by Health Canada, which are the same ones recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States and the World Health Organization,” Jorgenson said.
The city solicitors office was looking into the poster situation Tuesday afternoon.
One of the most vocal anti-fluoride groups is trying to distance themselves from the posters as well, saying that attacking Jorgenson personally isn’t the way to go.
“We’re against fluoride obviously, but we don’t endorse the posters,” said Mike Sharp, one of the administrators of the Anti-Fluoride Saskatoon Facebook page.
“We have nothing against Jeff Jorgenson.”
According to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, less than 37 per cent of the province’s population has access to water with “sufficient levels of fluoride.”
The South Saskatchewan River has some naturally occurring fluoride at a level of 0.14 parts per million.