Fluoride prevents dental decay

It always is the case that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. This has never been more true than in present-day democracy.

It always is the case that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. This has never been more true than in present-day democracy.

Some dedicated group may seize upon a cause, and because of the group’s high degree of motivation it tirelessly presents its case before the public and its governmental representatives. Constant pressuring by the interest group raises the perceived importance of its desired position in the minds of these representatives and the public.

On the other hand, others who may be opposed to the view of the interest group but without the time or energy to pursue the defence of their opposition are assumed to be in agreement with, or giving tacit approval to, the interest group’s stance.

Let me state, unequivocally, that dentists in Red Deer are not giving approval to the removal of fluoride in Red Deer’s water.

Based on the incidence of dental caries (decay) in localities without fluoridation (in children especially), compared to those with fluoridation, we see that there is a direct benefit in water fluoridation and strongly urge the city to maintain its fluoridation program.

Opponents to fluoridation claim risk to health from fluoridation. Dental caries also presents a health risk and is easily quantifiable.

From affecting proper nutrition, to risk of systemic infections, dental health is a major factor in overall well-being. Fluoridation has been the major contributor to caries prevention.

Unfortunately, removal of fluoride from the city’s water supply will have no noticeable immediate effect. Cavities don’t happen overnight. And just as the squeaky wheel aphorism is true, so is, “People have short memories.”

The fluoride debate will be long forgotten when the real effects of unfluoridated water kick in. Parents will wonder why their children have more cavities, why their dental bills are higher, why their dental insurance premiums have increased, but they will not link these outcomes with the removal of fluoride.

As a dentist, I only have one voice in the fluoride debate but the outcome will affect all of my patients. It is for them that I am speaking.

The segment of the population that benefits the most from fluoridation is the children. They also will suffer the consequences of fluoridation removal the most.

Life in this world is a constant balance of risk and benefit. The accepted science says that the negative health risks are minimal. The benefits are great. The continued dental health of the citizens of Red Deer should be the top priority.

Dr. J.E. Scalzo

Red Deer

Public paying for blackout debacle

On July 9, 2012, six major electricity generators in Alberta unexpectedly shut off at roughly the same time when electricity demand was reaching a summer time high. According to the Alberta System Electric Operator (AESO) — soaring temperatures on this day drove Alberta’s demand for electricity. As the result of the shortage of electricity, widespread power outages spread out across the province, negatively impacting economic activity and endangering the safety of Albertans when traffic signals at busy intersections began to fail.

The unexpected shut down of the six generators also spiked electricity prices from $11 MW to $1,000 MW in a matter of minutes. Now electricity bills across Alberta are expected to rise in September, on average, 28% to pay for the shortage of electricity on July 9th.

What Albertans have not been told about the rolling blackouts of July 9th, and what Albertans have not been told about the price gouging that subsequently followed is that the AESO also arbitrarily reduced electricity imports by 225 MW or 31%, at the very same time the system needed electricity.

Six generators shut off (tripped off-line) placing the system at risk of a possible blackout, but only after the AESO arbitrarily and deliberately reduced imports by 225 MW did the rolling blackout actually happen. In effect, the AESO initiated and effectuated the rolling blackouts. The public will now be forced to pay for this debacle!

The public deserves answers! Knowing the lights were going to go out, who made the decision to limit electricity imports and begin the rolling blackouts? It is hard for me to imagine that a middle manager at the AESO would have the authority to make such a decision.

It is even harder for me to imagine that a senior manager at the AESO would turn the lights off without first consulting with the Department of Energy. Most importantly, why should the public (hard working people, including our seniors, small business owners, and low-income citizens), pay for this mismanagement?

The public needs answers and this government has shown time and time again that it is not willing to provide answers.

While transparency and accountability may be the official buzzwords in the premier’s office, findings of fact and official reports are missing in action.

You might say they are virtually invisible. It’s not that the facts and reports do not exist — they do! They are just not available for the public to see and read.

So as Albertans pay this month’s outrageous electric bills, the Minister of Energy is withholding the Retail Market Review Committee’s 390-page report from the public, which includes 41 recommendations on how to improve electricity bills

There is no rational or reasonable explanation why the public cannot see these recommendations. After all, it’s the public that has to pay.

Joe Anglin

MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House- Sundre

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