While a new Health Canada-commissioned report has put the fluoride debate back into the national spotlight, Halton’s medical officer of health said he has no plans to push fluoridation for ‘old’ Milton’s water supply.
The report, prepared by an expert panel formed by Health Canada, recommends a decrease in the optimal amount of fluoride that should be added to municipal drinking water from .8 parts per million (ppm) to .7 ppm. The panel says this would “prevent excessive intake of fluoride through multiple sources of exposure.”
Currently, the older parts of Milton are on a well-based water supply that contains no fluoride, while the new areas get fluoridated water from the Big Pipe.
According to Halton Medical Officer of Health Dr. Bob Nosal, the water coming from the Big Pipe already meets the report’s recommendation or falls below it, with the common local fluoride level being around .6 ppm.
And while Dr. Nosal said he would support fluoridating old Milton’s water supply, he pointed out that the health department made a presentation to town council several years ago and its members said they’re not interested.
“There’s no appetite among councillors to do it (fluoridate old Milton’s water), and we will leave it that way,” he said.
Mayor Gord Krantz said he doesn’t want to see fluoride forced on the residents of old Milton.
“I don’t think it’s necessary at this point in time. Those who don’t support fluoridation shouldn’t be forced to have it. Those that want more can get it in other ways,” he said.
Ward 2 Councillor Greg Nelson shared similar sentiments.
“I’ve always thought there’s enough fluoride in dental products, so it’s overkill to put it in the water system,” he said.
Health Canada maintains its position that water fluoridation is important from a public health perspective — something that Dr. Nosal concurs with.
He said he and the health department support water fluoridation as an effective public health method to reduce cavities.
A statement from Health Canada Chief Dental Officer Peter Cooney indicated that when water is fluoridated at optimal levels, it doesn’t cause adverse health effects.
“There is also no evidence to suggest that children should avoid drinking fluoridated water at the accepted levels in Canadian drinking water supplies,” he said.
But the report from the expert panel did say, “The consumption of powdered infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water could lead to excessive fluoride intake in infants.”
The panel recommends that the makers of infant formula should reduce the levels of fluoride in their products. It also suggests promoting and encouraging the availability of lower-concentration fluoride toothpastes for children — something that’s already available in other countries.
Region staff will present an information report on fluoride to council in the fall.