Cornwall council’s been kicking this can down the road long enough – it’s time for a decision on whether fluoridation will return to our municipal water system or stay out.
The battle lines are well-drawn here and I can’t imagine any current or recent city councillor is unaware of the two markedly different sides to this debate.
On one side, a few generations’ worth of public data and policy showing some benefit to adding fluoride to municipal water supplies. A practice that began in the 1950s carries on strongly in many municipalities, though it should also be noted many municipal water systems in Ontario draw from wells in bedrock that naturally contains higher levels of fluoride.
Those drawing from river water, like Cornwall, were among the group that decades ago began adding minute amounts of the chemical to municipal systems. The benefits showed themselves soon enough among populations that were far more averse to the medical and cosmetic dental care we consider routine today.
On the other side those opposed to using the dastardly chemical in anyone’s drinking water.
Sensitivities, disease, retardation and countless other ills – almost up to and including death – are promoted by opponents as the unwanted side effects of fluoridation. New research studies back up these claims, showing the impacts of prolonged and/or higher than recommended dosages of the chemical that creates a mineral in fluoridated tap water.
A mineral that can, for a small ongoing expense, be filtered out of tap water. People should be aware of what’s in the drinking water brought to their taps and that information, already available in annual drinking water system reports, should be widely shared.
This is a debate that has plenty of fear mongering on either side. In some cases, this approach works. In my case, it only raises suspicions – those who battle with fear often do so because it obscures weaknesses in their argument.
The decision to stop fluoridating Cornwall’s water several years ago was quite happenstance – a health and safety order because the storage and supply conditions were not safe for the workers that load the chemicals added to our water to make it safe to use. For almost a year now, council’s had the information on how much it would cost to add the fluoride back into the water system safely.
Every time it delays or postpones the decision, it only throws the silliness of the campaigns into abeyance, to be resumed all over again when the question lands on the table again with a thud.
For the sanity of all involved and interested, council members should just make a final decision on the question one way or the other.