CAPE Statement on Drinking Water Fluoridation

October 8, 2008

Canadians who are concerned about the quality of our drinking water and who wish to know about the effects of fluoridation and chemicals are encouraged to read the Council of Canadians information and CAPE’s position paper below:

Council of Canadians

I wish to provide you with a statement on fluoridation of drinking water (see below and attached in .pdf) that we recently received from CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment) regarding water fluoridation. This powerful lobby group which was so instrumental in creating the Ontario Pesticide Ban which should pass into law next year, has also taken a position on the toxic chemicals we are diluting in our drinking water.

The president of the ISDE, Dr. Vyvyan Howard, PhD, M.D. recently visited Mississauga, Ontario for the 28th International Society of Fluoride Research Conference, to discuss the 20+ recently published studies demonstrating neurotoxic effects of fluorides in drinking water and urge the discontinuation of this outdated policy. Dr. Howard can be reached at: CAPE is an affiliate member of ISDE.

* Connett M, Limeback H. 2008 Fluoride and its effect on human intelligence. A systematic review. 2008 IADR 86th General Session & Exhibition

* Tang QQ,, Du J,  Ma HH , Jiang SJ,, Zhou XJ. Fluoride and Children’s Intelligence: A Meta-analysis. Biol Trace Elem Res. (abstract distributed on PubMed, August, 2008)

“The biggest current debate is over osteosar­coma—the most common form of bone can­cer and the sixth most prevalent cancer in children.” Scientific American Jan 2008, p 79.

According to the chairman of the largest review ever done on water fluoridation and health effects (NRC 2006 – 1,000 studies) “we’ve gone with the status quo regarding fluoride for many years-for too long really…and now we need to take a fresh look.” Scientific American Jan 2008, p 79. (see attached)

Is it time for CofC to also examine the status quo regarding water fluoridation and protect our source water?

Every tanker truck of hydrofluorosilicic acid which is delivered to a municipality contains about 1 pound of arsenic and up to 8 pounds of lead (permissible according to AWWA standards).

According to the Camargo 2003 Review (see attached) and the recent Hamilton Board of Health Presentation, sewage effluent contains 10 times the CWQG. (Sewage effluent = 1.2mg/L; CWQG – 0.12).

DWSP data from the Ontario MOE demonstrates that background levels of fluoride are up to double the CWQG e.g. 0.25mg/L.

Hamilton Board of Health July 8, 2008

Environmental Pollution

“The Woodward WTP produces approximately 350 million litters of water per day and adds HFS to reach a level about 0.7 mg/L of fluoride. Less than 0.1% of this water is consumed for drinking water and given that the primary target of water fluoridation are children, the water fluoridation therefore potentially serves only less than 0.5% of the total water produced. Most of the water provided to the community returns back in the form of sewage. The wastewater has high concentration of fluoride compared with potable water because of the fluoride added due to toothpaste use and some industrial discharges. A sample of the wastewater was tested for fluoride and the concentration was approximately 1.2 mg/L. Very little fluoride is removed in the wastewater treatment process and effluent had fluoride concentration of 1.05 mg/L.

There are many studies about the impacts of fluoride in aquatic environment and generally there is a consensus that fluoride concentration of about 0.6-0.7 mg/L has detrimental impact on aquatic life. If water fluoridation is stopped, it may be possible that the wastewater fluoride concentration would drop by 0.5-0.6 mg/L, which will be beneficial to aquatic environment.

The Canadian Council for Ministers of the Environment (CCME) is currently in the process of finalizing a Canada-wide Strategy for the Management of Municipal Wastewater. The draft strategy was posted for public consultation and comments. The draft strategy proposed a compliance requirement of end of the pipe toxicity testing for the wastewater treatment plants. It is anticipated that this requirement will be included in the Certificate of Approval for the Woodward WWTP upgrades.

The fluorides in wastewater can’t be removed in the treatment processes and as such the toxicity associated with it will be a significant challenge, if source controls are not implemented. Failure to achieve toxicity targets will require substantial future investments in the wastewater treatment systems.

Hazardous Waste, Toxic Substances, Dangerous Goods

These chemicals are classified as “Hazardous Waste” (Environment Canada), “toxic substances” (Canadian Environmental Protection Act 2006 update and “dangerous goods” (Transport Canada). This was confirmed in responses to Petition 221, available at the Auditor General of Canada website:


Fluoridation chemicals degrade the quality of our drinking water and contaminate our source water.

Fluoridation chemicals do not prevent cavities.

Fluoridation chemicals harm susceptible individuals, especially young children.

Fluoridation chemicals are a waste of taxpayers’ money. Every dollar spent is a dollar wasted.

Is this practice of water fluoridation sustainable?

Is it time to protect our source water?

I look forward to future correspondence,

Carole Clinch

People for Safe Drinking Water – Research Coordinator
Grand River Environmental Network (GREN) – Secretary


Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Statement on drinking water fluoridation

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) does not support fluoridation of drinking water for the following reasons.

1) The decline in caries in communities that are fluoridated has been highly significant — but so has the decline that has occurred in non-fluoridated communities. There has, in fact, been a general decline in dental caries throughout the Western world, and the decline in fluoridated cities has not exceeded that in non-fluoridated communities. For example, BC drinking water is 95% non-fluoridated, whereas drinking water in Alberta is 75% fluoridated; yet the two provinces have similar rates of caries. Furthermore, Europe is 98% non-fluoridated, but global European dental health is generally equivalent to or better than that in North America. Whatever the reason for the decline in dental caries, it can not be concluded that it is the result of drinking water fluoridation.

2) The incidence of toxic effects in humans from fluoridation may well have been underestimated. The most serious potential association is with osteosarcoma in boys, which appears to have been loosely associated with age of exposure to fluoride. It is true that the CDC has (as has the original researcher) acknowledged that current data are tentative, but a further larger-scale study is pending from the Harvard School of Dentistry. At the very least, such data are grounds for caution.

3) Animal studies have shown a wide range of adverse effects associated with fluoride. It has been shown to be a potential immunotoxin, embryotoxin, neurotoxin and harmful to bony tissues, including both dental and ordinary bone. In addition, it can damage (inhibit) thyroid function in several species, including humans. Its effect on ecosystem balance has been little researched, but is unlikely to be positive.

4) The intake of fluoride from drinking water is uncontrolled, and can lead to dental fluorosis in children who are inclined to drink large amounts of water. Both natural and artificially flouridated water can cause this effect, which is, of course, simply a visible representation of an effect on the entire bony skeleton. The cost of repairing teeth damaged by fluorosis is not trivial; moderate to severe effects can require $15,000 or more in dental fees.

It seems clear that a) fluoridation is unlikely to be the cause of the decline in caries in Europe and North America b) the potential for adverse effects is real, and c) current evidence points in the direction of caution. Over the last decade, recommendations with respect to acceptable fluoride exposure have steadily declined, and cautions have increased. Any dental benefit that may accrue from fluoride exposure is fully achieved by controlled topical application of fluoride compounds by trained dental professionals, not by fluoride ingestion. [The analysis of Dr. Hardy Limeback (, Head, Preventive Dentistry, at the University of Toronto, further clarifies these points.]

On the basis of this “weight of evidence” we believe that fluoridation of drinking water is scientifically untenable, and should not be part of a public health initiative or program.