Forty years after fluoride was first added to local drinking water, the municipality of Lambton Shores wants it removed.
“We’re not happy we’re forced to be medicated en masse,” says Paul Turnbull, Lambton Shores’ director of community services.
“A buildup of fluoride can be toxic,” he said. “It’s an imposition on my rights.”
Fluoride, a tooth-hardening mineral that has been the centre of controversy in Ontario for 45 years, is added at about half the water treatment plants in the province.
Proponents say that in the right amounts, fluoride reduces dental cavities by as much as 60 per cent. It’s also been shown to reduce osteoporosis and is considered by many in the dental field to be critical to proper tooth development.
But information is being forwarded to Sarnia council members today from Lambton Shores that indicates fluoridation is not necessary for healthy teeth.
A group called the Fluoride Action Network says fluoride is a “cumulative poison” that can interfere with hormonal and some neurochemical signals.
That’s the information politicians in Lambton Shores reviewed before unanimously deciding to ask all members of the Lambton Area Water Supply System (LAWSS) to remove fluoride at the plant.
The plant overlooking Lake Huron and the St. Clair River, has six member municipalities including Sarnia, Point Edward, Plympton-Wyoming, Warwick Township and Lambton Shores. A seventh, Brooke-Alvinston, is a customer.
Residents of Lambton Shores receive about 80 per cent of their water from the Lake Huron Water Plant north of Grand Bend and the rest from the Lambton Area Water Supply System.
The Lake Huron plant does not fluoridate the water, according to Turnbull.
“In recent months, concerns have been expressed by many experts and communities about the effect of fluoride on public health and I thought I should bring some of those concerns to the attention of council,” he said.
“We also have concerns about the plant employees who have to handle the stuff,” Turnbull added.
Discontinuing fluoride at the Lambton plant would require a vote by the LAWSS board. Each member municipality has representatives on the board so Lambton Shores has forwarded its resolution to each of them.
On Friday, Mayor Mike Bradley noted that a plebiscite was held during the 1960s in Sarnia and the majority of voters requested the addition of fluoride to their water.
“There’s overwhelming medical evidence in favour of it,” he said.
Coun. John Vollmar is the chairperson of LAWSS and said he hasn’t had a chance to review the information yet.
“There’s no way council will be able to take a position Monday,” he said. “I’ve never had a problem with fluoride but it’s an interesting topic of discussion.
“It’s all news to me.”