With recent news children in fluoride-free Calgary have been getting more cavities than normal, Coun. Andre Rivette believes it’s time bring fluoride back to the city.
“On Monday, I’m going to bring up a new motion to get this moving, to get a new date done (for a presentation by medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis),” Rivette said.
Cornwall’s water has been without fluoride since the fall of 2013 – not due to a decision to remove it, but because of an equipment failure. When the equipment failed, water treatment workers cited a concern under health and safety occupational regulations over the procedures and physical space used to add hydroflourosilicic acid at the city’s water treatment plant.
Before being greatly diluted in the water supply, the chemical as received is toxic and can lead to chronic injuries and medical conditions if not properly handled.
New equipment to meet those requirements would cost about |$300,000, an amount that convinced the previous council to hold off. A reserve fund has been set up to pay for the equipment, which falls within the water and sewer budget, not the general budget.
It also costs the city about $50,000 per year to purchase hydroflourosilicic acid.
Rivette said the municipality should not be holding on to funds that could be used to protect city staff members.
Rivette said Dr. Roumeliotis brought up the subject of fluoridation during Thursday’s Eastern Ontario Health Unit board meeting.
Calgary made national news this week when a study showed children in that city have a greater incidence of cavities than their counterparts in Edmonton, which maintains fluoridation. Calgary discontinued it in 2011 after it agreed with a strong lobby effort by anti-fluoride organizations.
“It speaks for itself about these wannabe (experts) who put out all kinds of s— on their websites,” Rivette said.
Fluoride has repeatedly been shown to be a cost-effective way to strengthen tooth enamel in communities. Opponents claim there are unwanted consequences such as a lower IQ in children, bone cancer after long-term use, thyroid problems and other medical conditions.
For a period starting in 2012, a local group called Fluoride Free Cornwall, tried to convince council to stop fluoridation.
Rivette was in favour of council debating the issue again last fall, but he said Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy has held off placing it back on the agenda.