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Letter to Gander Mayor Claude Elliott, copied to The Beacon. Dear Mayor Elliott: In a recent conversation with a member of the NLDA, I was informed that the Gander Town Council is currently discussing the issue of fluoridation of the town's drinking water. As an oral healthcare provider and the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association, I am asking that your council review the results of the decision of 30 years ago and base your go forward position on those results. Gander has provided its residents with 30 years of protection against dental caries and the proof of this good is in the people themselves.

Letters to the Editor - Letter to Gander Mayor Claude Elliott, copied to The Beacon.

Dear Mayor Elliott:

In a recent conversation with a member of the NLDA, I was informed that the Gander Town Council is currently discussing the issue of fluoridation of the town's drinking water.

As an oral healthcare provider and the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association, I am asking that your council review the results of the decision of 30 years ago and base your go forward position on those results. Gander has provided its residents with 30 years of protection against dental caries and the proof of this good is in the people themselves.

Fluoridation of drinking water was named as one of the 10 most successful public health measures in this century. Many governments and health organizations, including Health Canada, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organization endorse the fluoridation of drinking water to prevent tooth decay. Fluoridation is the most economical means of getting the proven protection that fluoride gives to teeth to a large number of people.

The inclusion of fluoridation is a long-term health and economic issue. Children need fluoride protection while their teeth are developing. Adults also need it since the possibility of root cavities (tooth decay in the roots of the teeth) increases, as they get older. A reality that we understand is that in the absence of fluoridation, the residents of Gander will witness an increase in dental caries, an increase in resultant infections and discomfort and, of course, the added cost of dealing with dental caries in the future.

Those who oppose fluoridation of drinking water do so based on the fear of too much fluoride and subsequent health risks. Some opponents have gone as far as to suggest that there is a link between cancer and the use of fluoride. CDA is always scanning the latest fluoridation research and according to the generally accepted body of scientific knowledge, there has been no proven association between cancer rates in humans and the optimal levels of fluoride in drinking water.

I understand their fears and agree that any substance taken in excess can be harmful. However, the Gander level of fluoridation is well below the maximum recommended level by Health Canada of 1.5 mg/L. In fact, in January of 2007, the level was LTD (less than detection limit), which is the lowest concentration of a substance that can be determined using a particular test method. In other words, close to 0 mg/L. In both 2006 and 2005 the level was also determined at LTD. In 2004, the levels were .67 mg/L and .53 mg/L again well below the maximum recommended level and the optimal recommended level of .8mg/L to 1mg/L. With these test results, as provided by the Department of Environment, Gander residents have not been at risk from the past fluoridation program.

Not only is the water tested twice annually at the tap and at the source but also the optimal level of fluoride is reviewed by a scientific joint federal/provincial committee on an ongoing basis. This committee provides a recommendation based on both the levels found in the reservoir and a consideration for the fact that many people receive fluoride from other sources.

In light of the good value of the fluoridation program that Gander has maintained for 30 years and the benefits that the residents derived from the program, the dentists of Newfoundland and Labrador congratulate you and your council on your long-term thinking and planning.

In closing, we are recommending that in the interest of good oral health, you continue to fluoride the drinking water of Gander.

Sincerely,

Dr. Derrick Batten

President, Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association

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