When it comes to the addition of fluoride to municipal water systems, it’s not a matter of risk, but choice.

On Tuesday, the Town of Parry Sound unanimously decided to continue adding fluoride to the residential water system.

The vote came after a compelling presentation by Dr. Jim Chirico, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s medical officer of health.

Fluoride, he pointed out, saves a community the size of Parry Sound about $190,000 in costs related to dental decay. The chemical additive, he says, has never been proven dangerous or harmful when diluted in the water system. Those who oppose it for health reasons, he argues, are looking at unscientific articles on the internet – a “selective review of literature” – rather than making educated decisions.

He’s probably correct in that the relatively minute traces of fluoride in the water system are no less toxic than additives the majority of us consume because of the mass production of food and drink.

But the fluoride debate is about more than the dental merits of the additive. The debate is about having the right to choose your medicine. Water is a basic human right. So, too, should be the consumption of any chemical additive to your diet.

We now have great advances in toothpaste and personal dental care. As individuals we have the ability to take our dental health seriously without the mass addition of such treatments. Water without fluoride is not bad for us. Water with fluoride is a health care decision made on our behalf, whether we like it or not.

Other municipalities are changing tact when it comes to fluoride. Huntsville and the Township of Lake of Bays no longer add it to water systems.

The decisions were made in 2014 after months of presentations and debate. The decisions were made based on the belief it should be individuals who choose whether they ingest fluoride – not elected officials.

Parry Sound’s decision appeared to be a quick one – about an hour – and now Parry Sounders will continue to drink fluoride with their water – just one more additive in a long list found in our processed foods and pumped into our atmosphere.