Fluoride Action Network

Essex councillors vote against fluoridating drinking water

Source: Windsor Star | July 4th, 2018 | By Craig Pearson
Location: Canada, Ontario

All five councillors in attendance at the council meeting Tuesday night voted to send letters to water suppliers saying fluoridation is not welcome in their town.

ESSEX — Town of Essex councillors have said no to fluoridated tap water — even before a decision was required.

All five councillors in attendance at the council meeting Tuesday night voted to send letters to water suppliers saying fluoridation is not welcome in their town.

“Council members voted unanimously to send the message that Essex does not want fluoride in the water,” Sherry Bondy, the councillor who pushed for the vote, said Wednesday. “If the health unit or the province would come to us to suggest we add fluoride, we’ve sent the message that we’re not interested, for what that’s worth.”

The vote on the contentious issue was largely symbolic, given that no governing authority has approached Essex about fluoridation.

In October 2016, the Ontario legislature passed a non-binding motion that would “remove the portions of the Ontario Municipal Act that allow a municipality to… opt out of fluoridation of its drinking water.”

Essex does not add fluoride to its Colchester South Water Treatment Plant, which serves the southern half of the municipality. Nor does the Town of Amherstburg, which supplies McGregor residents. Nor does the Union Water Supply System, which provides drinking water to a large portion of the county, including some Essex residents.

Still, Bondy has followed the issue of water fluoridation — which sparks great debate — and is opposed to its use in municipal water supplies.

“It’s not something we want to put our finances into, or our administrative hours into, or expose our residents to,” said Bondy, who has four children including a four-month-old and who worries about the effect on young people as well as pregnant women, among others. “I don’t want unintended consequences. Fluoride isn’t bad in and of itself — but it’s not to be digested.

“As municipal councillors, it’s not our job to medicate the population through our water system. It’s our job to mandate that we have a safe drinking-water system.”

The Government of Canada issued a 2016 statement on water fluoridation — which is supported by the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Medical Association and the World Health Organization, among others — saying in part: “Community water fluoridation is an important and often overlooked public health measure that has contributed over the last 70 years to the health of Canadians by preventing tooth decay and thereby improving oral health.”

Bondy, however, says residents can get fluoride through toothpaste and mouthwash and dentist visits, if they wish.

“I don’t like ingesting chemicals,” said Bondy, who has served on Essex council for eight years. “There are people with hypersensitive immune systems who have issues with it. I don’t think it’s properly studied. I have a problem with the ethics of it. And there’s also the cost of it.”

No fluoride

Town of Essex Councillors who voted Tuesday against water fluoridation: Richard Meloche, Steve Bjorkman, Larry Snively, Randy Voakes, and Sherry Bondy. On vacation: Mayor Ron McDermott and Ron Rogers.

*Original article online at https://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/essex-councillors-vote-against-fluoridating-drinking-water