A Carleton Place councillor has been taking a closer look at what has been coming through the taps in our kitchens.
More than a year ago, Coun. Jerry Flynn happened to notice an ad in a newspaper warning readers of the risks associated with fluoride in municipal drinking water.
“I did a little research, mainly on the Internet, to get some background,” said Flynn. “What I found was there is already a battle raging over (the fluoride issue).”
At this time, fluoride is added to the town’s water supply at the water treatment plant.
“If there is a possibility that fluoride is a health hazard, and there have been many studies done which have come to this conclusion, then as a council, I feel we have an obligation to investigate and decide if it is worth the risk to continue adding it to our water,” said Flynn.
The councillor said many communities across Canada have been debating whether fluoride should remain in their drinking water.
“Health Canada wants the levels in our tap water cut, which means they want them reduced,” said Flynn. “The move is on again in a lot of areas to ban (fluoride in water) altogether.”
There is, however, a great deal of support for keeping the status quo.
The fluoridation of community water supplies in Canada is supported by Health Canada, the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Medical Association and the World Health Organization. Flynn said the issue will be brought up next fall to examine the pros and cons.
“If we go ahead, it will be in the form of a plebiscite so the people can make a decision,” said Flynn.
After bringing the issue to the council table a number of times, town staff members were able to identify other municipalities dealing with the same issue.
The Region of Waterloo provided Carleton Place with some background information they developed on fluoridation, as well as requirements for conducting a plebiscite on the issue.
After completing research which began in 2008, the region concluded it would hold a plebiscite during the next municipal election with the process commencing early in the new year to focus the debate during the appropriate election campaign time frame.
The Ministry of the Environment is also conducting a review of the issue, which staff expects to present the findings early in the new year.
At this time, Carleton Place town staff will continue to acquire information from other municipalities and await the ministry’s directive before making any decisions.
Fluoride is defined as a naturally occurring mineral found in water and soil.
According to the Region of Waterloo, almost all water contains some amount of fluoride.
“Fluoridation” is the process of adding a small amount of fluoride to the water supply up to a level where its helps prevent cavities/tooth decay.
“The residents, however, will make the final decision as it will be presented to them in the form of a plebiscite.”