Mayor Lynn Peterson has made no bones about where she stands on the issue of water fluoridation in Thunder Bay. “The Thunder Bay water supply is not fluoridated nor has any decision been made to do so however the Thunder Bay District Health Unit has mounted a campaign to have fluoride added to our water (that is likely the source of the pamphlet you refer to) I have read many conflicting reports on fluoride and for many reasons will not support fluoridating the City’s water system,” is the message from Mayor Peterson.
Mayor Peterson in taking a firm stand on the issue is likely setting a tone for the debate at City Council this evening.
She is also taking the same stand that the citizens of Thunder Bay have taken in past referendums as well, where the people have voted to keep their water supply free of fluoride.
Today, the Ontario Dental Association has brought a team to Thunder Bay to help push Council toward moving to water fluoridation. “There is no debate – community water fluoridation is the most cost-effective and safe way to prevent tooth decay,” said Dr.Kirshen. “As a dentist, I see the pain and suffering people with poor oral health experience; as a father, I would never promote anything that would expose my children to harm.”
The ODA states, “In response to increasing rates of tooth decay in the region, in 2007 the Thunder Bay District Board of Health made recommendations to City Council on improving the oral health of its citizens, one of which was adding fluoride to the public water supply”.
The debate has divided with each side digging in and it is unlikely that either side will take the time to listen to the arguments from the other side. That is part of the problem when campaigns like the fluoride one pits diverse opinions against each other.
In an era where City Council is seeking to control costs, it is likely that the prospect of spending money on fluoride treatment for the water in the city won’t carry much weight.
Perhaps a simpler solution, and maybe more effective would be for the ODA and Health Board to invest the funds in their fluoride campaign into making more affordable dental care including dental fluoride treatments available to lower income families and individuals in our community.
It could be as simple as offering toothbrushes and fluoride toothpaste to young people through the schools.
Tonight’s debate should be interesting, but if Council follows the lead set by Mayor Peterson, this is a proposal that will likely be voted down tonight.