A group pushing to remove fluoride from London tap water says it’s willing to take the fight door-to-door in order to educate the public about the additive’s dangers.
People for Safe Drinking Water will push city council to include warnings to parents on water bills not to use fluoridated tap water to mix baby formula, said Londoner Chris Gupta, a member of the group.
If council won’t, the group will take the next step and tell people themselves, he said.
“We’ll go door-to-door if necessary and provide people the education they need on these issues,” said Gupta, an engineer.
The group is part of the Fluoride Action Network, which brought Dr. Paul Connett to the city Wednesday night to talk about the issue.
During his presentation, Connett urged people to put pressure on city politicians to put the warnings on water bills.
Coun. Bud Polhill, who attended the talk, said it was a suggestion worth considering.
“I think that (the warning on bills) . . . should go to the health unit because if it’s an issue for younger children then parents need to know about that,” he said.
“That seems like a valid concern for younger children, under two to three years old. That might be something we should look at and see if Dr. (Graham) Pollett (medical officer of health) could agree to that and if not, tell us why (he doesn’t) agree with it.”
But don’t expect a quick decision from council over whether fluoride should be removed from drinking water.
Polhill said there would need to be “a lot of input from a lot of places” before council goes down that path.
“I’m not just going to do a knee-jerk (reaction) and say, ‘Yeah, let’s do it,’ ” he said.
Gupta said council should ask questions and not just wait for reports on the subject.
Calling the findings that Connett presented “quite alarming,” Coun. Joni Baechler, who attended his speech, said she’d like to see the Middlesex-London Health Unit look at a 2006 report from the U.S. National Research Council on fluoride in drinking water that Connett cited.
“If the findings are valid then there’s some actions that would flow from that,” she said.
The findings Connett cited were put together by a group that is considered to be unbiased and is based on peer science, Baechler said.
Baechler, who pointed out she’s not a scientist, said there are a lot of questions.
“There’s some important pieces that we have to take a look at.”
Gupta said the group is also hoping councillors from cities that have recently decided to remove fluoride from their drinking water — such as Calgary and Waterloo — can talk to London councillors about their decision when they meet through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
But Polhill said decisions made by other municipalities wouldn’t influence his decision.
“I wouldn’t base a decision in London on a decision that was made in Waterloo. We have to make our own decisions here,” he said.
It costs $133,000 to put fluoride in the city’s drinking water.
The health unit’s board recently voted to support fluoridating city water.
But the issue doesn’t end there.
According to the provincial Fluoridation Act, municipalities have the right to demand fluoride be removed.