City fluoride levels too high?

Red Deer has asked Alberta Health Services whether it should reduce the fluoride level in the city’s drinking water based on a recommendation to Health Canada.

Red Deer has asked Alberta Health Services whether it should reduce the fluoride level in the city’s drinking water based on a recommendation to Health Canada.

A Health Canada panel recommended the optimum level of fluoride be lowered to 0.7 mg/L from 0.8.

Edmonton has already dropped its fluoride level based on the panel’s report, which was released in April 2008.

The fluoride level in Red Deer’s water is at 0.8 mg/L.

Smiley Douglas, supervisor at Red Deer’s water treatment plant, said he expects Red Deer will also reduce its fluoride level. But any change will likely be “several weeks out.”

“We haven’t heard back yet from Alberta Health. Once that is done, we’ll make an evaluation of their recommendation,” Douglas said on Wednesday.

Then the city must make an application to Alberta Environment to reduce the fluoride level.

The expert panel recommended lowering fluoride levels in drinking water to prevent excessive intake of fluoride through multiple sources of exposure and damage to teeth by fluorosis. Children are particularly at risk due to exposure through infant formula.

The panel also determined fluoridation of community drinking water is still an effective public health method to reduce the prevalence of tooth decay.

In December, the city started adding fluoride after it stopped for more than a year due to a fluoride supply shortage.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com