The decision to eliminate fluoride from Halton’s water systems is being pushed back to the New Year by Regional Council.
Fluoride is added to the water to assist in dental health, a process the Ontario Dental Association and Medical Officer of Health for Halton Dr. Bob Nosal, endorse.
However, some residents and advocacy groups claim that fluoride may do more harm than good.
“I’m concerned about what the fluoride may be doing to children,” said Diane Sprules, an Oakville resident spearheading the campaign to end water fluoridation in Halton. “There’s evidence that fluoride can affect neural development, that it can affect the thyroid gland and that it may cause problems in babies.”
“Every dentist in Ontario supports independent research into all areas of health,” said ODA President Dr. Larry Levin. “Water fluoridation is certainly one aspect that we 100 per cent support independent research into. But this area has been studied exhaustively by independent groups around the world. The World Health Organization , the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta, the Canadian Dental Association and the US government are in favour of it, how many groups will it take to say fluoride is safe before we disregard some of these small groups who have other opinions?”
Levin himself dismisses the claims made by various advocacy groups.
“If you look at the claims being made by some organizations, you have to ask yourself, why didn’t anyone else come to the same conclusion? The reason is that the small group didn’t look at the big picture. They’re also wrong.”
Though the argument will continue on either for, or against water fluoridation, Sprules is pleased that Council chose to wait on a decision.
“Council had been bombarded by material from both sides on this issue and they had an enormous stack of submissions when they arrived at the meeting,” she said. “I think most of the Councillors chose to delay the decision so they could look at all the material.”
A date for the vote in 2009 has not yet been set. To find out more about the water fluoridation process in Halton, visit www.halton.ca or call 905-825-6000.