A woman concerned about the use of fluoride in the water took her case to the Chatham-Kent Health Board Wednesday.
Chantelle Goldsmith of Fluoride Free Chatham-Kent said the group opposes the addition of fluoride for several reasons, noting the type of fluoride used isn’t of pharmaceutical grade, but is instead an industrial waste byproduct.
“Why this rubs me the wrong way is it’s a toxic waste for all intents and purposes,” she told the board.
She also questioned the effectiveness of adding fluoride to the water to help prevent cavities and tooth decay.
In her report, she said research shows that fluoride works best when applied directly onto the teeth.
“It’s not doing its purpose when we drink it,” she said.
Her presentation also listed several health concerns including bone and thyroid problems.
Goldsmith’s deputation at the health board followed a similar presentation to the public utilities commission in April.
At that time, the commissions referred her presentation to the health board, which received her report.
After the meeting Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, said he wants to read the report in more detail and review the statistical information.
“There is no question, the primary activity of fluoride is topical on the teeth,” said Colby. “So it’s not the fact that you’re swallowing it that creates the benefit in terms of cavity prevention.”
Colby will also confer with Dr. Wayne McKay, the health unit’s dental consultant, before bringing a report on the issue back to the board.
In other matters dealt with at the meeting, the health board endorsed the “Blue W” program that promotes municipal tap water as a healthy, accessible alternative to purchasing bottled drinks.
The program involves a group of restaurant, shop, business facility owners who allow visitors to refill their personal reusable water bottles with tap water without having to make any in-store purchases.
The health unit is teaming up with the PUC to roll out the program in Blenheim, Chatham, Ridgetown, Tilbury and Wallaceburg.
“We have excellent quality water in this municipality as most of the municipalities in Ontario do,” said Dr. Colby, noting that tap water is an inexpensive alternative to bottled water.
Blue W locations are marked by decals on front windows of participating facilities.
The program started in 2009 as a pilot project in Guelph to promote tap water.
It has expanded to London, Collingwood, Oakville, and the Niagara and Waterloo Regions.