The Fluoride Action Network has begun a chapter in Windsor and hopes to convince city hall that the chemical, which the World Health Organization and Health Canada has credited with cutting tooth decay and cavities worldwide, should be removed from Windsor’s drinking water.
Approximately 40 people met at the group’s inaugural meeting at the Windsor Workers’ Action Centre on Wednesday night. Local volunteers with the growing North American movement hope to launch a campaign that will convince citizens that fluoride is loaded with too many caveats and is a danger to public health.
“Putting fluoride in public drinking water is a violation of the individual’s right to consent to medication,” said Ayesha Drouillard, an organizer with the group. “The consensus from the dental community is that fluoride’s benefits to teeth come from topical application to the teeth, not by swallowing it. There is no reason why it should be in our water.”
Drouillard, as well as other opponents to fluoridation, argues that the chemical can cause dental fluorosis, bone damage, a type of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma and several other medical issues.
“Many other countries and municipalities, including Calgary and Waterloo, have banned the use of fluoridation out of health concerns,” said Drouillard. “The issue should be looked at in Windsor.”
Windsor began introducing fluoride, which is commonly found in toothpaste and mouthwash, in 1958. Health officials saw the water treatments as an easy way to provide basic tooth care to families that could not afford dental work. Only 0.6 millilitres of fluoride per litre is allowed in Windsor’s drinking water. Health Canada’s limit is 1.5 mL/L
In 1999, the U.S. Center for Disease Control ranked fluoridation as the ninth most important medical achievement of the century, ahead of acknowledging tobacco as a health hazard.
Excessive exposure to fluoride has been proven to cause tooth and bone problems in people. However, Mark Drkulec, vice president of the Essex County Dental Society, says that the concern over fluoridation is a case of poor research and scientific illiteracy.
“This issue has been rehashed over and over again to people continuously,” said Drkulec.
“This is a campaign organized by people who think they know the facts, but have not done proper research from reliable sources.”
Drkulec says that many fluoride-related disorders in children are consequences of swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash. In others, a lack of proper oral care and a strong sweet tooth are also contributors.
In communities that rely on ground wells, the chemical can produce naturally and exceed health limits if the well is poorly maintained, causing a myriad of health problems.
“But as someone who has practiced dental work for 26 years, I haven’t seen a case where fluoride from drinking water, and just drinking water alone, caused serious problems,” he said. “The amount of fluoride in Windsor’s water is so small, that I don’t think it is possible to drink enough water that you would get fluoride poisoning.”
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