There’s something in the water.
And now Peel Region is considering stopping the practice of adding fluoride to its drinking water.
The regional council — which oversees Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon — formed the “Oral Health in Peel Committee” in late January. During its first meeting on Feb. 11, it began “examining practices” surrounding fluoride use, region spokesman Scott Fry said.
Public consultations about fluoride will happen over the next four months.
Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins said the decision to add fluoride to water rests with individual municipalities, but he has written to mayors in the last few months stressing its value to public health and safety.
“Bad oral health is the number one chronic condition among children today,” Hoskins said Thursday. “And it impacts diseases, everything from diabetes to heart disease to lung disease.
“Fluoridation through municipal water supplies is an incredibly important and impactful way to reduce that risk.”
Hoskins added any municipality that is considering not fluoridating or ending the fluoridation of their water should make those decisions based on evidence.
“And the evidence is clear that fluoridation is both safe and effective,” he said.
Toronto Public Health said it’s not likely to drop fluoride.
“Toronto continues to support water fluoridation and sees it as an integral part of helping to improve and sustain oral health of Toronto residents,” said Dr. Hazel Stewart, the city’s director of dental and oral health. “Too much of anything is bad for you. Just the right amount is what we are aiming for.”
Fluoride has been flowing through Toronto’s taps since 1963. Stewart said the city does review the issue on a regular basis. Back in 2011, the Board of Health reaffirmed its stance on continuing fluoridation.
Right now, the city is following Health Canada’s recommendation to add 0.3 to 0.6 parts per million of fluoride into its water supply.
But Danny Litterst, the founder of End Fluoride Toronto, said there hasn’t been any conclusive study to show fluoride is safe.
The group has created a petition “to end chemical fluoridation in Toronto.” So far, the petition has more than 5,700 signatures.
“(The government) has never done the studies because if they do them, they’re going to be on the hook for putting poison in the water supply,” he said. “I don’t want politicians playing doctor with my water.”
A report published Wednesday in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology looked at the impact of the City of Calgary ending the use of fluoride in its water supply in 2011.
That report found that five years later, Calgary children have more than twice as many cavities than kids in Edmonton — where fluoridation continues — and more health issues with their baby teeth.
— With files by Antonella Artuso