A group of residents is polishing up its argument against the use of fluoride in city water before taking the issue to city council.
Michael Bell, the Green party’s Peterborough riding candidate in the recent federal election, and Fred Irwin, with Transition Town Peterborough, hosted a public meeting on the issue at the public library Thursday night.
They showed a video of an interview of Christopher Bryson, the author of the Fluoride Deception, to the 25 people in attendance.
David Green, the owner of Rocky Ridge Drinking Water in Peterborough, spoke on the issue and answered questions.
They raised concerns about the use of fluoride, pointing to studies over the last 70 years that connected it with cancer and adverse neurological effects.
“Fluoridation is safe, it’s effective and it’s very cost effective…. Some low-income people may not be able to afford to get some dental treatments as often as you’d like to get them to do it. So there is a socio-economic factor. Dental disease is the number one chronic disease among children and adolescents in North America.”
Dr. Dick Ito
Health Canada recently completed a study of the use of fluoride in drinking water that found the weight of evidence from all currently available studies doesn’t support a link between the use of fluoride in drinking water at the current regulated levels and any adverse health effects.
Fluoridation protects teeth from decay, said Dr. Dick Ito, the Peterborough County-City Health Unit dental consultant.
“Fluoridation is safe, it’s effective and it’s very cost effective,” he told The Examiner.
If the city stops fluoridation, people would have to try to get fluoride in other ways, such as through professional treatments in a dentist’s office, Ito said.
“However, some low-income people may not be able to afford to get some dental treatments as often as you’d like to get them to do it. So there is a socio-economic factor,” he said. “Dental disease is the number one chronic disease among children and adolescents in North America.”
The film Bell and Irwin showed referenced examples of connections between scientists that have defended the use of fluoride and the industries, such as the aluminum and nuclear industries, that benefited from the use of fluoride.
The film also cited examples of scientists who lost their jobs after their research pointed to potential adverse health effects from fluoride.
Bell encouraged people to watch the video with Bryson that can be found online on YouTube.
Green said he wouldn’t bother trying to deal with Health Canada or the health unit.
“Dental people have a view from the dental point of view, but they don’t necessarily have a toxicology point of view,” said Green, whose bottled water business doesn’t use fluoride. “There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a neurotoxin at very low levels.”
Health Canada challenges the credibility of the findings of studies that have linked fluoride exposure to reduced mental capacity.
“There are significant concerns regarding the available studies, including quality, credibility and methodological weaknesses,” Health Canada states.
Calgary stopped using fluoride in its drinking water and last year Waterloo residents decided in a referendum to cease fluoridation.
Health boards in Toronto, Hamilton, Peel Region and Muskoka have recently supported the continuation of fluoridation, Ito said.
There’s an increase in tooth decay when fluoridation is stopped, Ito said, citing a study that found tooth decay, or caries, increased by 26% in five-year-old children between 2001 and 2008 after Dryden, Ont. ceased fluoridation.
“It’s a risk for dental health,” he said.
Ito commented that in Western Europe, where fluoridation of public drinking water isn’t common, fluoride is added to other items such as salt.
City council passed a bylaw Jan. 2, 1973 to begin the use of fluoride in the city’s drinking water, said Wayne Stiver, the vice-president of water utility services with Peterborough Utilities.
“It’s backed by the Canadian Dental Association. It’s backed by the American Dental Association,” he said.
Fluoride kills all the bacteria in the mouth to prevent tooth decay, Green said.
“It’s essentially sterilizing your mouth,” he said.
John Etches, who attended the public meeting on fluoridation, encouraged everyone who took part to tell friends about the issue before the next information session is held in a few months.
“This is a start. There might be some momentum,” he said.