Most of the references to fluoride in Canadian parliamentary committees are in the context of paternalistic forced medication of community water supplies supposedly for dental health, but I found some negative references also.
Testimony by Steve Hrudey from the University of Alberta:
“The World Health Organization recently looked at the entire range of chemical contaminants and concluded that a relatively short list of arsenic, fluoride, selenium, nitrate and lead are the ones with documented evidence of causing human disease via drinking water.”
The Chair: Can I just finish, Madam Hendricks, by asking you the following? Do you believe the skirmishing we’ve had around the issue of labelling is really secondary to the skirmishing involving scientists around the whole question of safety of GMOs, and that when the scientists finally settle the safety issues, the issues around labelling will disappear?
Let me raise this as a possible parallel. I’m old enough to remember some of the controversies around fluoride in water thirty and forty years ago. There was a famous Canadian TV personality named Gordon Sinclair, who used to call fluoride in water rat poison. I think it was a minority view. The main body of scientific knowledge didn’t support that view. Ultimately the issue died away. I don’t remember the last time I heard any great controversy around fluoride in water. I think the scientific community has just said it’s basically safe.
Do you think the same thing could happen with GMOs? Once the scientists of the world—and it’s not just Canadians here—can settle some of these safety issues, the issue of labelling will just fade away.
Ms. Suzanne Hendricks: I wish I could tell you yes, but I don’t believe so. I think the science might be 70% or 80% of the issue, but there is also another dimension to it. Maybe science will satisfy 80% of your citizens, but there are other dimensions there that will have to be addressed.
There is the question of the environment, which is not necessarily a question of a health effect or health safety. To take your example of fluoridation, the city of Montreal still doesn’t have fluoride because a famous citizen, Jean Drapeau, believed the same thing as Gordon Sinclair.
The Chair: Has there been any great controversy in Montreal of late?
Ms. Suzanne Hendricks: There hasn’t been any. Nobody has brought the issue forward. We could go into a long debate on the state of dental health in Montreal compared to other areas. Those issues do not necessarily go away.
Mr. Daniel Gagnier (Senior Vice-President, Corporate and External Affairs, Alcan Inc.):
“The next slides from the deck that you will see are merely proof points showing the trend lines on PFC emissions, on reducing emissions of air pollutants—fluoride emissions in particular—on polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and on total emission reduction by installation over the years.”
Mr. Rod Raphael (Acting Director General, Environmental Health Directorate, Health Protection Branch, Department of Health)
“In the area of air quality guidelines, we have completed work on carbon monoxide and hydrogen fluoride. As well, guidelines are under way in a federal-provincial process for work under particles in terms of PM and smog in terms of ozone.“
“Professor McEvoy, your discussion of the referendum in Ireland caused me a memory flashback of trying to accomplish the fluoridation of water in Calgary. We had five referenda; we lost them all. We went into all of them thinking that we would win, but in the last few days of the civic election campaign, there would always be a massive leaflet drop into every home talking about how rats died of fluoride. Everybody would go to the polls the next day and vote against it. Apparently, it finally passed; it must be because I left Calgary.“
There is a point to emphasize here, and it’s so tragic and hilarious at the same time how she brags about the experience. The ruling class never give up even after they lose a referendum FIVE TIMES. “No, I don’t want to drink your poison.” “Oh yes, you will. Don’t disobey, little baby! Take your medicine!” Some kind of incredible elitist determination is behind that, so powerful and overwhelming that it persists until our resistance crumbles.
The next one seems even funnier:
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, Feb. 18, 1999
Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Anjou—Rivière-des-Prairies, Lib.):
“Mr. Chairman, when I noticed this difference between the two versions of the bill, I figured it was a translation problem. I thought, as you have always said, that there were different teams drafting the two versions and that, without looking at the translation, they considered the bill as a whole. Maintaining the word “harmful” must be based on some kind of logic. Contrary to what you said, it is not enough to say that it is toxic and to conclude that we need not use the word “harmful”. Many substances may be inherently toxic, but, once added to water in certain concentrations, they have positive effects. I’m thinking of chlorine and fluoride. So it’s not enough to stay toxic. We must be concerned as to whether the substance is harmful.”
“Since I cannot know in advance whether Ms. Kraft Sloan’s amendment will be agreed to, I feel we should at least take the precaution of adding the word “harmful” so that research focuses on harmful effects, not just on effects. There may be people who find her amendment good enough to agree to it as it stands, but let’s at least add the word “harmful” so that no one conducts random research, open research, and so on. Let’s look for the harmful effects. I thought we should at least put that in.
“Furthermore, we still have to judge her amendment as a whole. I believe Mr. Cameron sides with me. He’s speaking in favour of my amendment, based on the principle of taking precautions. If Ms. Kraft Sloan’s amendment is agreed to, we should at least add the word “harmful”.”
February 19th, 2009