Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold has told a group of citizens council will take more than a month to decide if fluoride will go back into the city’s drinking water.
About 25 people rose to stand behind fluoridation opponent Jennifer Jones as she spoke at Monday’s meeting.
“Many of us watched last Monday’s presentation [and] can’t understand why you would only give yourselves a month to study this issue,” Jones said.
Jones, a mother and teacher in Moncton, asked council to take more time to consider the important decision, although her own mind has been made up.
“Public water does not belong to dentists,” she said. “Public water is not the way to administer a drug, especially a drug as controversial as fluoride.”
One week earlier, council held a special meeting to allow two groups to speak on the issue. Those who favour fluoride in water supplies say it is highly effective in reducing the number of cavities in children.
Those who oppose it say it is dangerous and there isn’t enough information about the long-term effects on people.
Fluoride debate a ‘hot potato,’ says Moncton mayor
Moncton to debate return of fluoride in drinking water
Mayor Arnold and council decided before the meeting that the Feb. 27 deadline should be extended.
“They were in agreement that we need a bit more time to make the decision and to have a proper mechanism in place so we can get the answers to some of our questions because as we dig through some of the research we’re getting more and more questions,” she said.
Arnold said council will meet again to put a timeline in place.
In 2011, a group of citizens approached the city to remove fluoride from the water, citing health concerns and saying medicating water is a violation of rights.
Moncton phasing fluoride out of water
The city endured a contentious debate that year which ended with Moncton council voting 7–4 to remove fluoride from the water supply.
At the time, Dieppe had voted to remove fluoride from the water supply, while Riverview voted to keep it. As the three communities all get their water from Moncton’s Turtle Creek Resevoir, Moncton broke the deadlock between the communities.
Dollars and cents
In 2011, fluoridating the water cost an estimated $100,000 a year.
Isabelle LeBlanc, Moncton’s director of communications, said to bring it back would cost about $60,000 a year in supplies plus maintenance, power and human resources, as well as a one-time cost of $20,000 to update the facility.