History & Politics of Fluoridation in Calgary

Fluoride in Calgary's water


The City of Calgary discontinued the practice of fluoridating Calgary’s drinking water on Thursday, May 19, 2011, following direction from Council and the official receipt of Alberta Environment's authorization to amend The City's Water Operating Approval.


Fluoride still occurs naturally

Fluoride naturally occurs in the Bow and Elbow Rivers, in concentrations varying throughout the year between 0.1 and 0.4 mg/L, mostly in the form of tightly bound calcium fluoride.


History of fluoridation in Calgary



Calgarians vote against adding fluoride to its drinking water three times in 1957, 1961 and 1971.



In a 1989 plebiscite, Calgarians voted in favour of adding fluoride to the city's drinking water after the Calgary Health Region ran an extensive campaign with reportedly hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers support. In 1991, fluoride in the form of hydrofluosilicic acid was added to Calgary's drinking water at a target of 1.0 mg/L.



In 1998, The City and Alberta Health Services reviewed water fluoridation as a public policy, and a panel of five experts recommended a reduction in the level of fluoride to 0.7 mg/L. This change was adopted in 1999 following a 2nd plebiscite where Calgarians again voted in favour of fluoridation, by 55 per cent. Again, the pro-fluoridation campaign was supported heavily with taxpayer’s dollars.



The City of Calgary council, after studying the issue extensively for several years and hearing expert testimony from both sides, voted for the discontinuation of the addition of fluoride to Calgary's drinking water. As directed by Council, artificial water fluoridation was halted on May 19, 2011.