A citizen’s group opposed to fluoridation of Orillia’s water supply has garnered a flood of support for its cause, an organizer says.
“I get about 300 emails a day,” said Susan Schweitzer, a member of Orillia Citizens Against Fluoride.
The group is urging council to reject a recommendation by the public health unit to fluoridate the municipality’s drinking water.
Schweitzer and others cite health concerns they say are associated with the drug, further arguing that the city would be mass medicating the population without its consent.
The group is now taking its cause directly to council, with a plan to bring a delegation in early May.
Schweitzer, who met with Mayor Angelo Orsi a couple of weeks ago, was “pleasantly surprised” by his knowledge of the subject.
“He seemed like he had really studied the issue, he seemed very well informed,” she said. “I think he had done his homework and I think he is still doing it. He asked me if it would be possible to get a no-side deputation together.”
Accompanying Schweitzer at the private meeting was a medical geologist who studies the relationship between natural geological factors and their effects on human and animal health.
Speaking with Orillia Today, Orsi said he continues to research the issue, and hasn’t decided whether he will support or oppose fluoridation.
“If I’m going to make a decision on the people’s welfare and life, absolutely I’m going to treat it seriously,” he said.
Asked how he would respond if presented with evidence that showed fluoridation put residents’ health at risk, Orsi said, “If I can reduce the risk, I will always go on the side of caution when I can.”
Schweitzer said her recently formed group now has a couple of hundred members, adding that, “the support just keeps growing.”
In the same breath, she said many people still aren’t aware of the issue.
“Potentially it’s because the MURF (lobby effort) has been happening and there is a lot of press on that,” she added.
Schweitzer said the group is proposing a May 7 delegation to council.
The city hosted the first of two public forums on fluoridation in late February, with a second meeting to follow May 29.
At that meeting, staff will present a recommendation and gather additional comments from the public.
Council will receive the staff recommendation in June.
The public health unit maintains water fluoridation is a safe and effective method to help prevent tooth decay.