To fluoridate or not to fluoridate … that appears to be the question.
Halton council was to decide last week on whether to end the region’s practice of fluoridating local water after current supplies have been exhausted.
However, councillors were surprised when greeted with a barrage of delegations — many of which were expected to address council on the issue. Council, ultimately, opted to defer any decision.
Halton Hills Councillor Clark Somerville, who earlier brought forward the motion to remove fluoride from Halton’s water supply, said council could not have done justice to the delegations by making a decision that day.
The motion to defer was the correct one, as water fluoridation is a hot-button issue.
Halton’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Bob Nosal called much of the material anti-fluoride delegations brought forward “nonsense.”
He said many of the statements from the anti-fluoride groups are “not applicable to the low, moderate level of fluoride we have.”
He pointed to a U. S. study shared by some speakers that showed adverse effects where the fluoride count is four parts per million.
“I agree with that statement, but our level is point six (0.6). It’s much, much lower,” said Nosal, noting dental decay rates are lower in communities that fluoridate water.
Nosal also said that both Health Canada and the World Health Organization support fluoridation.
We are somewhat puzzled why council is questioning the viewpoint of its own medical officer of health.
Nosal has, over the years, proven to be a sound voice of reason for this region. He drew rave reviews for his proactive work in the battle against West Nile virus and has always put the best interests of this region’s citizens first.
He is a medical professional whose job it is to know the benefits/ adverse effects of matters such as water fluoridation. Health Canada’s chief dental officer also supports Nosal’s position.
This is certainly a black and white issue — no grey area here. The groups who are against fluoride in their drinking water will produce just as many scientific studies supporting their belief as those who are for fluoridation.
We don’t envy council as they wade through the studies before making a decision. They are in a no-win situation.