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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Residents Debate Fluoride in Water

Owen Sound | by Matt Villeneuve  

Despite concerns during public meeting, health officials adamant fluoride is safe

Fluoridated public water is once again before Owen Sound City Council after a number of residents raised concerns over the need to add the mineral.

A public meeting was held on Monday night, and about one-hundred apprehensive people attended the session.

Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hazel Lynn, made the initial presentation, saying numerous studies have shown fluoride is a benefit, particularly for lower income residents who often can't afford to see a dentist regularly.

Doctor Lynn tells Bayshore Broadcasting News fluoridated water is a preventative measure -- not curative -- and defends against both tooth and dental decay.

It's particularly effective in toddlers and younger children.

Trevor Urbshott, who resides in Georgian Bluffs, says the population is "getting medicated" without consciously making the decision.

Other residents were primarily concerned about the long term effects fluoridated water could have on their organs and overall health.

Owen Sound has treated its drinking water for 49 years, and a review in 1997 led to the continuation of the fluoridation process.

Dr. John Totton has been practicing dentistry in the City for almost 48 years, and he tells us the science surrounding fluoridation is overwhelmingly positive.

According to Dr. Totton, many people are terribly misinformed about the issue.

Even the American Dental Association believes fluoridated public water decreases tooth decay by 20 to 40 per cent.

And Health Canada claims about 45 per cent of Canadians drink fluoridated water. 

Still, some Owen Sound residents are keen to have the issue on the ballot in the October 27th municipal election.

Following a meeting on February 19th, the 'Operations Advisory Committee' -- chaired by Councillor Bill Twaddle -- will make a recommendation to City Council.

Twaddle says "a municipality can decide whether to fluoridate its water ... except if there's been a plebiscite held, in which the electors made the decision."

The first plebiscite was held in 1965 and again in 1997, both times voters agreed that the City should continue to treat public water.

Should Owen Sound Council reject the idea of a plebiscite, concerned residents can create a petition with 10 percent of the electorates signatures and force the decision.

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. 

It helps prevent decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks and fluoride can also reverses early decay. 

Orillia Council voted to remove fluoride in their water in July of 2012.

And statistics show Orillia children have the highest rate of dental decay of the 10 municipalities reviewed in the Simcoe-Muskoka region.




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