New Tecumseth council is once again amid its annual debate about whether or not to remove fluoride from Tottenham’s water supply.
Since 1973 fluoride has been added into the community’s water. Local dentist Dr. Gerry Ross was the catalyst and still stands by his decision 40 years later, saying it’s his greatest accomplishment and a gift he’s given to Tottenham.
Studies show adding fluoride to the water supply helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. Adding the element to municipal water has others worried about potential health side effects of consuming fluoride over time.
Tottenham and Canadian Forces Base Borden are the only areas in Simcoe County currently adding fluoride to the water, although the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit supports making fluoridated water available to all residents.
Part of the confusion in New Tecumseth is that there isn’t a uniform water supply.
Alliston and Beeton get their water from the Collingwood-Alliston pipeline, while Tottenham has its own well system.
Heading into next week’s meeting, council is poised to remove fluoride from Tottenham’s water. The decision would mean they are going against the direct advice of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health, and Public Health Dental Consultant.
It’s time to end the local fluoride debate, at least for one term of council.
The decision should be left to the people drinking the water when they head to the polls next year.
The question of having fluoride in the water should be added to the ballot in 2014. This time, the question should be put to all of New Tecumseth. Whatever the outcome, the entire town would finally receive the same quality of drinking water.