Churchill, Manitoba will no longer add fluoride to its’ or beluga whales drinking water. A four year, four month campaign by Churchill No Fluoride led by resident activist Mark Brackley has culminated with victory for those dedicated to stopping the process of adding fluoride to the water supply once it is pumped from the Churchill River. Voters won majority in a plebiscite last October in favor of ending the fluoridation of the town’s water supply. However, small town politics are always sticky and the vote was put up for review by Mayor Mike Spence and city council. Apparently the council was searching for an alternative fluoride treatment process to replace the existing system. With pressure from Brackley and his constituents, the vote was finally ratified and unanimously approved last week by city council. A date of September 15, 2012 was set as the day when town water will be fluoride free.
Churchill CAO Albert Meijering said a fluoride rinse program will be installed in the local school and any resident will be able to take part in the program.
Flouridation of water supplies has been prolific since the 1950’s and 60’s worldwide as an effective way to prevent tooth decay. Only recently has strong opposition and lobbying gained enough force, backed by scientific evidence to convince local governments to cease adding the substance to drinking water in many locations. Opposition opinion against the process is based mainly on the fact that dosages of fluoride are not regulated. Simply put, the more water consumed, the more fluoride you take into your body. Churchill is a dry climate and water is consumed more often than many other towns. This makes the issue even more pressing here.
Most European countries have stopped water-fluoridation programs, including recent converts Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland. Other Canadian cities have stopped the fluoridation process prior to Churchill. Most recently Flin Flon stopped adding fluoride to its water supply at the end of July 2011 and Calgary stopped in May 2011. Winnipeg lowered its’ fluoride content from .85 milligrams per liter to .7 milligrams on recommendations from Health Canada and Manitoba Health. Brackley and his group will now focus their efforts on Winnipeg, assisting local activists there with hopes of removing fluoride from the provincial capital’s drinking water. The battle continues on.
Before the final vote to end fluoridation was cast by Churchill town council, Brackley had planned to film a documentary this Summer on the affects of fluoride on the marine habitat…specifically how water runoff and discharge containing fluoride into the Churchill River could be harming the beluga whale population that fills the river and Hudson Bay each year. No significant research has been conducted in the far north where research dollars don’t go as far as Southern communities. Most likely that project will not need to happen now.