Expect a long and heated debate Monday night when city council meets to discuss whether to continue fluoridating Windsor’s water supply.
On one side will be grassroots groups urging council to stop a practice that has been credited with reducing tooth decay for more than 60 years.
On the other will be dentists and health care professionals who support fluoridation, including representatives of the Windsor Essex County Health Unit.
“We’ll be making a strong presentation supporting the continued use of fluoridation,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Allen Heimann. “There needs to be very strong evidence to discontinue a well-accepted public health intervention like this.”
What ultimately happens depends on which studies councillors choose to accept when making their decision. The World Health Organization supports the use of fluoridation. So does the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which calls it one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century. The Ontario Dental Association agrees.
These opinions, and those of countless other scientific bodies, have appeared in medical periodicals like the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the Lancet, considered the world’s leading independent medical journal.
Opponents of fluoridation should, logically, be asked by council to present their own evidence as published in these and other respected medical journals.
The discussion is bound to become emotional, and council will have to separate anecdotal observations from scientific fact. This meeting also gives them an opportunity to ask the Windsor Utilities Commission board why it recommended last year to remove fluoride from our water supply.
The reasons don’t appear to be clear.
We can only hope council makes an educated decision; one that considers the mountains of research done by trained professionals in this field. It must not be swayed by those who have neither the credentials nor the research to back up their argument.
The right decision Monday night would be to continue to fluoridate our water supply and monitor it regularly.