The committee reviewing water fluoridation in Peel Region has decided it will hear public delegations by invitation only.
Councillors on the Community Water Fluoridation Committee met Thursday morning in Regional Council chambers to list some studies and data it wants gathered as part of the review.
This process is expected to culminate in a recommendation to council as to whether or not the Region should continue its longstanding practice of adding fluoride to the municipality’s drinking water.
The review has generated widespread comment from fluoridation supporters who see health benefits in the practice, as well as from opponents who believe the chemical additive is actually harmful to public health.
Water fluoridation critics, from all over Canada and outside the country, have been inundating the Region with comment since the review was initiated earlier this year.
Councillors fear an open policy on delegations would bog down the review process in hours of repetitive presentations on the benefits and evils of fluoridation.
“We’re going to end up with dozens of delegations,” said committee chair Carolyn Parrish.
The committee will go back to council to request designation as a study group – allowing committee members to determine who will make presentations as part of this review.
Members of the public would be free to make delegations on the issue once the committee submits its recommendations to council.
“There’s an opportunity when this goes back to council. They can have their delegation then,” pointed out Mississauga councillor Karen Ras.
The Region has already been criticized for shutting out the public on this issue when it held an education session for coucillors behind closed doors last January.
This is the second time Peel council has dived headfirst into the water fluoridation debate.
In April 2011, debate ended with council voting unanimously to continue to the practice. But the anti-fluoride lobby has refused to let the issue die and have even launched an ongoing court challenge.