City council voted by a two-to-one margin to continue fluoridating London water Tuesday.
Despite heckles and insults hurled by fluoride opponents, councillors decided to keep treating city water — something it has been doing since 1967.
Unhappy at being put on the hot seat, council voted to ask the province to take over the regulation of fluoride on a provincewide basis.
“There isn’t anyone around this table who wants to hurt anyone,” Mayor Joe Fontana assured the gallery, whose impassioned calls prompted him to have to stop speaking.
“Fluoride has helped low income Canadians with good dental health,” Fontana said.
Coun. Matt Brown said he was satisfied fluoride was safe from a scientific standpoint.
“Political pressure alone shouldn’t make us want to take it out,” he said.
Coun. Denise Brown led the charge at council, saying studies show increased rates of broken bones from communities with fluoridated water.
“We have to listen to scientists, not people from London, but scientists doing research. We need to remove fluoride until it is proven safe,” said Brown, who was followed by cheers from the packed gallery.
City staff gave a detailed, technical discussion on the chemistry of water quality and why the small amount of fluoride in city water does not pose a threat.
Health Canada did a “complete review” of the issue over three years and looked at current research.
It concluded that when added to water at a rate of 1.5 milligrams, it was not associated with any ill health effects. London adds about half of that, the city’s manger of water quality said.
But Coun. Steve Orser dismissed Health Canada, saying he does not trust its work. “This is an easy one. Use the precautionary principle we use for pesticides and get the poison out of our lives,” he said.