A Sarnia resident is asking city council to push harder to get fluoride removed from municipal drinking water.
“Your body doesn’t need fluoride, there’s no metabolic process in your body that requires fluoride, and the only reason you put fluoride in your body is in hopes that you’re saving cavities,” says Rod Gowrie, who believes the health risks far outweigh the benefits.
Gowrie told city council on Nov. 14 that the fluoride added at the Lambton Area Water Supply System is industrial waste that also contains lead, arsenic, and mercury.
Adding harmful substances to drinking water could leave the municipality vulnerable to law suits and claims for damages, he said, citing reports from Health Canada and the Centres for Disease Control.
The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) has since weighed in, advising Sarnia to continue the “excellent” practice of fluoridating the community’s water.
“Fluoride is a mineral that exists naturally in virtually all water supplies. Communities, including Sarnia, adjust the amount of fluoride in their community water source to levels that protect teeth from decay,” the CDHA stated in a letter to council.
Every $1 spent on fluoridation saves $38 in dental fillings and other procedures, the organization said, noting a case study in Calgary, which voted to remove fluoride in 2011.
The CDHA also pointed to a case study in Calgary, a city that has seen an increase in dental cavities since it fluoridating water in 2011.
In 2015, half of the 1,700 children and youth examined in one community health project had some tooth decay.
Sarnia council voted to remove fluoride from the water three years ago, but the chemical still comes out of the tap because a majority of LAWSS member municipalities support its use.
“If the other municipalities that are forcing us to keep it in are convinced that it’s causing no harm, then they should have absolutely no problem accepting all the liability that goes along with adding it,” Gowrie said.
Mayor Mike Bradley said it was the public that voted to add fluoride so the issue should be decided in a plebiscite at 2018 municipal election.
“It really comes down to what the people want,” Bradley said. “If it comes out of the water, it should be decided by public vote.”
Council agreed the evidence on fluoride is contradictory and directed Gowrie’s report to Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sudit Ranade, for further review.