The medical officer of health is to appear before Tecumseh town council Tuesday to defend the use of fluoride in the town’s drinking water.

That’s because two groups are banding together to try to convince Tecumseh town council to petition the Windsor Utilities Commission to stop fluoridating the water it supplies to the town.

Medical officer of health, Dr. Allen Heimann, is to appear before Tecumseh council with a local dentist to defend water fluoridation.

Doug Hayes of the Council of Canadians said he will be there with a representative from the group Fluoride Free Windsor.

Hayes lives in Tecumseh and only drinks fluoride-free water. He considers it hazardous to his health.

Heimann said fluoride occurs naturally in the environment and is safe to drink.

“Fluoridation is safe and effective. It has been declared by the Centers of Disease Control one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th Century,” Heimann said.

Heimann said fluoridated water helps prevent cavities and he knows of no ill health effects.

Difference of opinion

But Hayes said researchers have not found any difference in the teeth of people who drink fluoridated water compared to those who don’t. He said it can actually cause damage to teeth, called dental fluorosis.

The Canadian Dental Association said dental fluorosis is caused when higher than optimal amounts of fluoride are ingested in early childhood.

“It starts out as a white mottling of the teeth and then it turns things brown the more fluoride that you get and it’s basically fluoride poisoning,” Hayes said.

Heimann said there are only problems with fluoride if it is taken in large doses and that the amounts found in drinking water are not harmful. He said if the city takes fluoride out of the water it must do something else to ensure better dental health.

“Such as community dental programs to add fluoride to dental rinses and topical application,” he said. “There has also been fluoridation of salt as opposed to water fluoridation.”

The mayor of Tecumseh told CBC News in November that the decision to remove fluoride from municipal drinking water should be put to a referendum. But, people need to educate themselves about the additive first.