Windsor’s water will no longer have fluoride added to it.
Council made that decision late Monday last night after a marathon meeting to deal with this issue at a special meeting.
Approximately 30 delegations addressed council at a meeting that lasted six hours.
The advice from multiple dentists and doctors, including the President of the Ontario Dental Association and Windsor’s medical officer of health was to keep fluoridating the water.
Arthur Worth, a Chatham dentist and president of the Ontario Dental Association, warned of future troubles.
“Well, we know that there’s a fall-off effect, that it takes some time for these effects to be seen when fluoride is withdrawn,” he said. “But there’s no doubt in my mind, at some point in time, you will see the demand for dental services and dental decay increase in this area. There’s no doubt of that in my mind.”
In the end, council disagreed and voted 8-3 to stop adding fluoride.
Hilary Payne was one of three councillors who voted against the motion.
“The vote went against the experts, so why have experts?” Payne asked. “Why have medical officer of health and so on and so forth if we’re just going to toss them aside like that, but that’s the way it is, the fluoride is going to be taken out of the water.”
Fulvio Valentinis and Jo-Anne Gignac cast the other two dissenting votes.
Mayor Eddie Francis voted to eliminate fluoride.
“The children in Leamington, the children in Kingsville, have been part of this region for some time now and they’ve had the benefit of no fluoride in their water and I haven’t heard from the health unit, from the Ontario Dental Association, or the dentists in Leamington, Kingsville. I haven’t heard a large cry saying we should add fluoride to their water. That was the key for me,” Francis explained.
Some dentists and doctors told city council the anti-fluoride crowd was fear mongering.
Ayesha Drouillard, with the group Fluoride-Free Windsor, disagreed.
“They’re calling us the fear mongerers. They’re trying to scare council into voting their way by saying, if you remove the fluoride then all our teeth decay is going to get higher and all these bad things are going to happen to our health,” she said. “They’re the fear mongerers.”
Fluoride has been added to Windsor’s water for more than 50 years.
The city spends $125,000 a year to add fluoride. The savings will now be used for oral health and nutrition education in the region.