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Fluoride flashpoint

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The controversy continues. In November 2003, the British Parliament debated a measure in the Water Bill permitting municipalities with local support to add fluoride to drinking water.

The controversy continues. In November 2003, the British Parliament debated a measure in the Water Bill permitting municipalities with local support to add fluoride to drinking water.The debate to add fluoride has strong voices on both sides. The British Dental Association supports the move, as do four former Ministers of Health. They believe added fluoride could reduce tooth decay in children by half. On this side of the Atlantic, 142 US and Canadian cities have rejected fluoridation since 1990. Health Canada supports the addition of fluoride, but does not participate in provincial and territorial decisions to add fluoride. Opponents in the US cite long-term concerns—possible cancer, osteoporosis, and genetic damage. They argue that fluoride added to water supplies is not a pure, pharmaceutical drug. Chemicals used are by-products of aluminum and fertilizer manufacturing, and the American Medical Association (AMA) cannot prove fluoride is safe.

“I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs,” says Dr. Charles Gordon Heyd, past president of the AMA. “Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long-term basis.”

What fluoride policies apply in your municipality? Let local authorities know you disagree with fluoride use.
hc-sc.gc.ca/english/iyh/environment/fluorides.html  

April showers
Atrazine is applied to two thirds of Canadian cornfields and used on soybeans and beets. Over 75 million pounds of the herbicide atrazine were used on US cornfields last year. Banned in Europe, atrazine levels need only be monitored in rivers, lakes, and streams, says the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—by the companies that produce it.

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is concerned that only two per cent of affected waterways are monitored. Yet the effects of atrazine are far-ranging—polluted water systems jeopardize sea turtles, salamanders, frogs, mussels, and fish.

People and pets may also be at risk. Research has shown abnormal development in tadpoles exposed to atrazine solutions. Other studies show association with ovarian cancer and lymphoma in humans and affected pituitary glands in animals.

The NRDC is concerned that levels of atrazine in drinking water are higher than EPA standards allow. Check beyondpesticides.org or infoventures.com to find out more about biological pesticides to help keep our pets, our water supply, and ourselves safe.

The good news is that atrazine use is down by commercial crop growers, who increasingly rely on rotation of pesticides and decreased concentrations and crop rotation.

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