Plebiscite on Fluoride in the water

The Issue

Is fluoride safe to put in our water? 

Calgary voters will be asked in a plebiscite during the 2021 municipal election whether they want fluoride to be re-introduced to their drinking water.

It’s the seventh time Calgarians are asked to vote on the controversial issue in a plebiscite. Calgarians voted against adding fluoride in 1957, 1961, 1966 and 1971. In 1989 and 1999, they voted in favour. But council decided to discontinue the addition of fluoride in 2011, resulting in the decommissioning of infrastructure. In 2020, council decided to ask voters directly to answer the question: “Are you in favour of re-introducing fluoridation of the municipal water supply?”

Proponents of fluoride, including the Alberta Dental Association, say there has been a noticeable increase in tooth decay in children since fluoride was removed in 2011. It would cost an estimated $30.1 million over 20 years to install and operate new infrastructure, but it’s not expected to lead to higher water rates.

Fluoride occurs naturally in the Bow and Elbow Rivers in low concentrations between 0.1 and 0.4 milligrams per litre, but experts say the positive benefits require a consistent concentration of 0.7 milligrams per litre.

Opponents, including Safe Water Calgary, say the addition of fluoride should be a personal choice. Fluoride is already supplied in toothpaste, foods and drinks, resulting in too much fluoride that could be harmful to health if it’s also added to drinking water, and those who want fluoride can buy supplements at a cost of about $13 a year, they say.

Pouring water
Toothbrush and toothpaste

Share Your voice

How do you feel about fluoride in the water?

Candidates on Fluoride in the water


2 Videos

Additional Resources

Public Poll: how do you feel about fluoride in the water?

Poll results