Peel Public Health has recommended the region continue adding fluoride to the community’s drinking water system.
For the last year now, councillors on Peel Region’s Community Water Fluoridation Committee have been conducting a review of the decades-old practice promoted as an effective oral health measure.
The local health unit and Medical Officer of Health submitted the formal recommendation to the committee in a Feb. 23 report.
“Peel Public Health supports the continued practice of community water fluoridation as a safe, effective, equitable, and cost-effective measure to provide Peel residents with protective benefits against tooth decay,” stated the final report signed by Health Services Commissioner Nancy Polsinelli.
The recommendation likely comes as no surprise to an ardent anti-fluoride faction in the community that has been following proceedings closely and accused local health officials of bias, cherry-picking scientific data and misleading the committee.
Those opposed to water fluoridation were relentless in making their position heard by the committee and have some support on council.
The committee was set up to form a recommendation for a regional position on continued use of water fluoridation in Peel.
Committee Chair Carolyn Parrish admitted earlier this month that the committee has struggled to come up with a recommendation after listening to all the contradictory information.
At the same meeting that health officials submitted their position on the issue, committee members passed a motion to reaffirm the region’s commitment to oral health.
But the motion also recommended Peel reduce the concentration of fluoride in its drinking water to 0.5 mg/l and switch to a calcium fluoride additive to address concerns about the toxicity of Peel’s current additive.
Peel council has also agreed to ask Ontario to carry out comprehensive toxicity tests and/or assume legislative responsibility for regulating and administering the fluoride additive hydrofluorosilicic acid (HFSA).
Critics of the water treatment have warned HFSA is a highly toxic form of fluoride, produced as a waste byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer manufacturing process.
The committee has now suspended meetings until the province clarifies its role in municipal water fluoridation.
Peel council had the same debate six years ago and decided to continue fluoridation.