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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 24, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta Wtdneiday, March 24, 1971 - THI IETHBRIDGE HERALD - S David 1. Balfour Fluoridation controversy unnecessary David Balfour is a second year student at the University of Lethbridge. This article is a condensation of a paper prepared in connection with his pre-dentistry studies. It should prove of Interest because of the con-troversy surrounding the past four plebescites in Lethbridge. AL THOUGH fluoridation programs have been initiated in over thirty countries around the world, this subject is still a highly controversial one as it has been since its inception three decades ago. A fluoridation referendum is now in the wind in Calgary, and it may spark another one here in Lethbridge. With this in mind it is worthwhile reviewing certain aspects of this important question, particularly in the light of recently-completed research. ? ? ? Some 16,000 fluoridation-re-lated studies have been published in the last thirty-five years, and it is impractical for anyone to evaluate all of these reports. Fortunately, there exist authoritative reviews of these works written by knowledgeable and respected medical and dental researchers. For this article I have combined information from these reviews along with my own assessments of many of the most recent research reports, and have made every effort to distinguish between fact and opinion. One point generally overlooked is that there do exist a substantial number of basic facts concerning fluoridation which are not seriously disputed by either of the opposing factions. For instance, neither side questions the fact that fluoride concentrations of one part per million parts of water do significantly reduce dental cavities. It is also an undisputed fact that fluorides are highly toxic in certain concentrations, and have indeed been used as "rat poison." Adequate bone strength, particularly in older people, also requires small concentrations of fluoride. It has recently been shown that trace amounts of fluorides are necessary for reproduction in every species that has been thoroughly tested thus far, but complete information concerning Human reproduction is not yet available. Finally, it should be noted that fluorides are naturally present in sea water and almost all fresh water. Thus we see that although too much fluoride is harmful, it is inevitable that we will encounter some daily, and it may indeed be necessary that we do so. This condition is not unique to fluorides, for it has been shown that some other elements such as selenium and zinc, which are ordinarily highly toxic, have been found in trace amounts in the body and appear to be essential to good health. It is highly logical then that there must exist an optimum concentration of these elements which will give maximum benefit to the body without injury. Fluorine, in the form of fluoride compounds, in this sense is no different from other trace elements, except that it has been more extensively studied than others. The optimum concentration of fluoride has been established at one part per million parts of water (1 ppm). ? ? ? Millions of people have been drinking water with natural fluoride levels up to and above this optimum concentration for many years. Some natural water sources contain more than the optimum level, and it has been found that concentrations above two parts per million sometimes result in dental fluorosis, which is a light brown staining or "mottling" of the tooth enamel. Although not harmful, this mottling is aesthetically undesirable, and some countries such as Italy have chosen to defluoridate some of their water supplies down to the optimum level. This has also been done in North America in a few areas. As early as 1892 a shortage of fluoride in Britain's fresh water sources was suspected to be the reason behind the high incidence of tooth cavities and decay. Artificial fluoridation was first suggested in the 1920's and the first actual programs were initiated in 1945 in the eastern United States. Brantford, Ontario, was the third city in the world to have a r t i ficially fluoridated water, also in 1945. From extensive studies of the residents of these first areas it was soon clear that the incidence of dental caries in children consuming water which contained 1 ppm of fluoride could be reduced by sixty to seventy per cent. Dr. H. T. Dean examined the teeth of children in five eastern American cities where water supplies had a natural fluoride content of about 1 ppm, and found that 22 per cent of the children examined had perfect teeth and the other 78 per cent averaged only three cavities each. Children drinking water with less fluoride were, found to average many more cavities and other tooth ailments. Similar findings have been repeated many times with artificially fluoridated water. One of the first such studies was carried out twenty-five years ago at Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Newburg, N.Y. In these communities a dramatic reduction in cavities due to the fluoride in the water launched a nationwide fluoridation campaign. A 1968 study of the same areas and their control communities revealed a reduction of SO per cent to 63 per cent in cavities in children aged 15 and 16. Another study compared the dental costs for 6 to 8 year-old children in these same communities and found that the annual per capita cost was $14.16 in the fluoridated areas as opposed to $32.38 in the non  fluoridated areas. These figures and many others have consistently proven the usefulness of fluoridated water in preventing cavities, and this point is seldom argued anymore. Often the question is heard "Why fluoridate water supplies when there are other ways of obtaining fluorides for those who want them?" It is true that there are other methods which can be just as effective as water fluoridation, if the right conditions exist.-How- 3 $ m� kr NEA, he "Next year, I'm going to buy one of thote, so / Aovt more time for jogging, too!" Why teach French? By Philipa West from Alberta Teachers' Association Magazine toric beauty of the walled City of Quebec itself, with its steep streets and horse-drawn car- YfHY, in Western Canada, are we teaching French to children in the elementary grades? Is it to help develop in them a knowledge of another language and with it an appreciation of another culture? Or is it to help develop in our children a knowledge of the language and culture enjoyed in the Province of Quebec and other parts of our country? It seems we should know why we are teaching French. If indeed it is to help children's understanding and appreciation of another civilized tongue and culture, then using audio-visual aids which zero in on France specifically is justifiable and wise. We then teach French and France from its source, the Eiffel Tower, Napoleon's Tomb, the Place de la Concorde. Nearly every other country which teaches French as a second language uses France as its reference point. English, German, Dutch children exchange dwelling plaices with their French counterparts to promote knowledge of French thought, speech and ways of living. But, Is this what we're after In Western Canada? Or are we teaching French in an effort to knit our vast country together? If this is our primary aim, why are we teaching directly from France and not from la belle provence, Quebec? In my part of Western Canada, French is taught to elementary grades as if Quebec did not exist! No reference is made to the brave explorers such as Champlain, Brule, Car-tier, who were first to open up this country. Little acknowledgment is given to resourceful French fur traders who paddled and portaged their way up hazardous rivers, making friends with the first Canadians, the Indians. One may argue that early French history is taught in social studies, and that's enough, isut as most of us are aware, "explorers" includes a potpourri of explorers from many parts of Europe, and specific knowledge of French exploits is left, largely to chance. If we're belatedly trying to do our part to knit Canada together, shouldn't we at least have half of our French lessons emanating from Quebec? (I'm talking about televised lessons now.) Consider the modern French life flourishing on each side of the lower St. Lawrence, the great cities, the paper mills, the mines; and the his- riages, its fine old churches and historic buildings. Arts in the province of Quebec are blossoming: painting, writing, poetry, music, dancing, (Les Feux Follets went to Expo '70) drama. All these are burgeoning with life, yet we pretend none of them exists so far as French teaching in Western Canada is concerned. It may be argued that the French spoken in Quebec is not the "real" French. For that matter, neither is the English spoken in Western Canada the "real" English! If a foreigner, about to embark on learning English, were to say to you, "OH, I couldn't possibly learn to speak English in Canada; I have to learn English in England," you'd consider him to be suffering from cultural myopia. A well-spoken, articu-1 a t e, enlightened Canadian, speaking English with a Canadian accent is welcome all over the world. His "un-English" accent may even prove an enhancement. In my view, the same is true of a Canadian-French accent. Beautiful Canadian-French is as acceptable as beautiful Canadian-English. "Ah," says an aspiring bilin-gualist, "but I want to speak with a true Parisian accent." Splendid. Has he heard that until recently the "best" French was reputedly spoken in Grenoble, and now it's Neuchatel? On behalf of our groaning taxpayers, of whom I am one, I urge the elementary curriculum planners (French specialists) to search their souls and discover why we are teaching French. Then the planners might ask themselves exactly what is to be gained from teaching Parisian French, as opposed to Canadian French, to pupils in our multi-cultural country, one-third of whose population speaks Canadian French. Are we neglecting to consider something important, such as the wealth of our French