Councillors are set to once again wade (pun fully intended) into the debate concerning the practice of water fluoridation, when “experts” from both sides of the debate will plead their case at a meeting next month.
In the meantime you are likely to hear plenty from proponents, and critics, of fluoridation as city councillors have circled this spring as the time to finally make a decision on a subject that has gone unanswered for the better part of three years.
It says here we should keep the status quo, and shelve the practice of water fluoridation in Cornwall for good.
As I’ve said in the past, it’s got little to do with the conspiracy theorists that are ready to suggest death looms behind every drop of fluoridated water. It doesn’t.
Instead, I think the issue in Fun City boils down to wasting taxpayer money and ensuring the safety of the guys that keep our drinking water flowing.
It will cost $300,000 in up-front expenses and about $50,000 a year to fluoridate drinking water in Cornwall. It might not seem like much when considered within a city budget of $160 million, but it adds up over time.
And where is much of that money going? Probably down the drain. Most of our drinking water ends up going right back into the St. Lawrence River instead of the mouths of Cornwallites.
Think about it, more water is used in Cornwall for washing clothes, dishes, flushing toilets, keeping lawns green and bathing instead of drinking or even cooking.
People are still getting fluoride from sources like tooth paste and mouthwash. And in the U.S., studies have shown that sodas, juices, sports drinks, beers, and many other processed foods, including infant foods, now have elevated fluoride levels – which leads me to think we’re getting the fluoride anyway, like it or not.
So, if we’re already being exposed to fluoride, and most of the fluoridated water created in Cornwall is simply getting a one-way trip to the sewers instead of first passing through human bodies, then perhaps the guys who work at the water filtration plant are being subjected to undue risks.
Cornwall’s water isn’t treated by simply adding fluoride to the system. Instead highly corrosive and potentially dangerous hydrofluorosilicic acid is added to create fluoride in our water.
This stuff is bad news.
City environmental services manager Morris McCormick said the acid can cause severe burns.
And I was once told holes in the ground (not a lot, but some) had been created at the filtration plant, where hydrofluorosilicic acid has dripped and eaten away at anything it touches.
If we were getting more bang for our fluoride buck I would argue the practice should be maintained and the guys at the filtration plant would have to live with the reality.
But we aren’t. Most of the fluoride is not being consumed…which creates an undue risk for water filtration plant staff.
In the two-plus years since the practice was stopped city council has booted the issue around time and again. Medical professionals have long suggested the benefits of water fluoridation, especially in terms of dental care, far outweigh other concerns. The doctors may well have a point about how important dental care is to the socioeconomic stability of a community…but that would be in a perfect world where most of the fluoride in the municipal water supply was actually being consumed by residents.
The practice was started in the 1940s, when we weren’t as educated about dental health, or as affluent as we are right now.
Times have changed and I would argue it’s time for the public to police itself when it comes to dental health.
We would be saving money, and potential injury for water treatment plant workers, if we discontinue water fluoridation.