Fluoride in Delhi’s water is a ‘hot button’ issue not just here in Norfolk but in towns and cities provincewide.
Is it a benefit? Is it a health scare? Or is it even necessary?
Dentists and anti-fluoridation activists both showed contrasting evidence to support their side and at a recent council meeting, Norfolk council voted unanimously to defer stripping fluoride from Simcoe, Delhi – including Courtland – municipal water systems until February 2009 at the earliest.
Currently, Waterford, Port Dover and Port Rowan water systems do not receive the cavity-fighting chemical in their municipal water systems.
“We decided that everyone should receive it, or no one should receive it,” said Norfolk County Mayor Dennis Travale. “This is an issue across the province. With more than half the population here living in rural areas and not having fluoride in their water, it proves that we don’t need it. To sell it as a universal system would be great, but that’s not the way it is.”
Many Norfolk residents still rely on well water and even those with fluoridated water are turning to bottled water, said Travale.
Eric D’Hondt, manager of public works and environmental services dept., said during the council meeting that the addition of fluoride to all three systems currently without was estimated at $130,000 capital and $16,000 in annual operating costs.
Known historically as a dental health benefit, Travale said times have changed since 25 years ago when fluoride was added to Delhi and Simcoe water.
“We are looking at this in a serious light both ethically and financially,” he said. “We are not rushing to judgment on this issue which is why we are asking for a balanced report from the Norfolk Health Unit.”
In 1985, Delhi council representative Mike Columbus said two-thirds of Delhi residents voted for fluoride to be added to the municipal water system.
“We have had fluoridation for more than 20 years,” he said. “The way I see it, if it was proven that fluoride was bad for you the Ministry of Health would clamp down on it. This is a very large provincewide issue. There are two strong opposing views, and both are very good.”
– With files from Barbara Simpson