When it comes to the fluoride debate, only one word suffices.
Cornwall city council is only kicking this can of worms further down the road by agreeing Monday to hear, again, from Eastern Ontario Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis at the end of March. Roumeliotis’ presentation is to be followed by an anti-fluoride expert’s presentation at the subsequent council meeting.
Just who any anti-fluoride expert who can speak with the background, knowledge and gravitas of Roumeliotis might be is a mystery, but Coun. David Murphy has stepped forward to find one.
There is nothing either of these two presenters will say that has not been said and heard dozens of times in the past. Even if the newer members of council didn’t hear these or similar presentations the last time this unending debate came before council in the 2010-14 term, I’d think they’re resourceful enough to either find those materials or go do their own research.
That councils have avoided making a decision here is ludicrous. Cornwall stopped fluoridating its water because of equipment failure. There was no public outcry to do so, no plebiscite to poll water system users on what they thought and no decision of council – other than to maintain what became the new status quo.
The easiest decision at this point is to leave things as they are, but we shouldn’t accept a dollars-and-cents reason. If council decides to keep the fluoride out, then it needs to explain itself in the same terms used in the 1950s when fluoridation of municipal water systems started taking place.
Given there are many, many differences in overall dental care today compared to the realities of a populace coming out of the Second World War, perhaps a lack of fluoride in water hasn’t made an impact in Cornwall. A lack, if any, of increase in the incidence of caries in Cornwallites since the equipment failure should be the only reason council chooses to keep it out.
The decisions of the 1950s to start doing so have been called the greatest public-health success in history, with a few generations’ worth of data showing the benefits of having this mineral to tap water where it wasn’t already naturally occurring.
That’s the clutter council should have already cut through when it was provided opportunities to make this decision in the past but didn’t. Instead, in choosing do not make a decision, it’s only allowed the clutter to increase, which may not make its eventual decision easier to justify.