March 21, 2019

Archives for October 2013

Fluoride fallout

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Matt Driscoll, What’s Up Muskoka, Bracebridge, Ontario 30-Oct-2013 – If all goes according to schedule, fluoride will no longer be added to Muskoka’s water system as of Nov. 4.

For some in the community, that date can’t come soon enough.

Last week District of Muskoka councillors voted to remove fluoride from the District’s drinking water.

“It’s a matter of choice,” said Jim McEachran, a Bracebridge resident who lobbied District council during the meeting, where it was decided that fluoride should be removed. “This is a noxious chemical and it makes me feel very good that we have one less thing to worry about in our water.”

Although a group of Muskokans have been working for several years in an effort to have fluoride removed, McEachran said his own fight began roughly one year ago when he noticed blotches on his daughter’s teeth, which he suspected might have been caused by fluoride.

“I still don’t have a definitive answer as to what it is but it was the spark that caused me to look into this in more detail. I was aware that white blotching was a potential issue with fluorosis,” he said. “I’m just a parent who took a keen interest in this over the last year or so. There’s a lot of information out there and . . . the more I read about it, it just didn’t make any sense.”

McEachran said there are simply too many variables when it comes to “forced medication” via the water system.

“It’s fuzzy science,” he said.

Dr. Charles Gardner, the medical officer of health with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, who also addressed council in favour of fluoridation, said afterwards that he was “taken aback” by council’s decision.

“I was surprised that it was put to a vote so quickly and I was surprised at the outcome,” he said. “It’s very important that the people of Muskoka understand what has happened here. They’ve lost their oral heath benefits.”

Orillia has never used fluoride in their water and Gardner says their studies show higher rates of cavities among children there. Compared to Muskoka, Orillia has much higher rates of severe dental decay (50 per cent of teeth or more) in children.

Fluoridated water typically results in two less cavities per child, says Gardner, which makes it extremely cost effective when compared to the potentially costly dental work resulting from tooth decay.

He says lower income families will be the hardest hit by the District’s decision.

“Those in lower income brackets are in higher risk to begin with,” he said. “They also typically lack in things like access to dental care, oral hygiene and good nutrition. It’s particularly important for them that the water be fluoridated.”

Gardner said the “overwhelming majority” of published research says fluoridated water systems are a safe and effective way to combat tooth decay. Meanwhile, he said much of the work that favours the removal of fluoride, including some of the work cited during the council meeting, has never been published for peer review.

Earlier in the month, Gardner was in New Tecumseh making a pitch to their council in an attempt to stop them from removing fluoride from their water system, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

“We’ve had a bad month,” he said.

He said the decision in both cases had little to do with scientific data and more to do with the effectiveness of the groups lobbying against fluoride.

“There is a very strong grassroots movement against fluoridation all through the western world, including Ontario, and it’s proved to be effective in Simcoe County unfortunately, and in the District of Muskoka,” he said. “They’re a relatively small group but they’re highly organized. They go to different communities to make the case and they use unrelenting tactics with municipalities, sending flurries of e-mails to councillors, which happened in Muskoka.”

He says the Health Unit will consider asking the province to mandate fluoridation of water, as is the case in some U.S. states and in all of Australia.

In the meantime, the Health Unit will continue to monitor what effect the recent decision has on the oral health of children in Muskoka.

McEachran, who got involved when he saw blotches on his daughter’s teeth, was one of two presenters opposed to water fluoridation who addressed council during their meeting.

McEachran said there are many other options for people who want to treat their teeth with fluoride.

“It may have some benefits if it’s applied to the teeth directly, no one’s going to argue that point, but there are other ways to apply it, and many are economical, people can do it themselves,” said McEachran.

The other anti-fluoride presenter was Dr. Brian McLean, a Barrie dentist, who delivered a speech written by Dr. Hardy Limeback, the former head of preventative dentistry at the University of Toronto.

Limeback said a recent study showed no benefit to fluoridation when comparing non-fluoridated Caledon to fluoridated Brampton. He said even studies that show benefits to fluoridation, indicate those benefits to be “often not statistically significant.”

He said many communities have already decided to drop fluoride, including Quebec City, Waterloo and New Tecumseh.

At council, both ant-fluoride speakers received loud applause from a gallery that included members of a group called Fluoride Free Muskoka, who have been attempting to have fluoride taken out of the water for several years.

Council took a recorded vote, electing to remove fluoride 10-9. Voting in favour were councillors Shane Baker, Steve Clement, Fran Coleman, Claude Doughty, Paisley Donaldson, Allen Edwards, Lori-Lynn Giaschi-Pacini, Bob Lacroix, Alice Murphy and Ruth-Ellen Nishikawa.

Doughty, a former dentist himself, said freedom of choice was a big issue. He said there are now many methods of receiving fluoride, and perhaps fluoride in the water is not as effective as it once was. “This is an epiphany for me tonight,” he said.

Doughty said the $50,000 the District spends on fluoridation each year should be set aside for emergency dental surgery. That issue will be discussed at budget time.

In 2012, 11,490 households in Muskoka were serviced by fluoridated municipal water.

On the other side of the argument, Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith called some of the anti-fluoridation arguments ridiculous. “No one has convinced me . . . that a change is necessary,” he said. “I have a bottle-fed baby at home and I’m glad there’s fluoride in the water.”

Presenting on the pro-fluoride side, Dr. Adrian Musters represented the Muskoka Simcoe Dental Association.

He said fluoridating the water is safe, effective and cost efficient, adding over 90 reputable health organizations, including Health Canada, the World Heath Organization and the Ontario Dental Association recommend fluoridation of water systems.

“It’s very simple. Fluoride makes teeth stronger and resistant to tooth decay,” said Musters. “This debate is bizarre. We have a great product delivered right into our homes.”

Fluoridation of Municipal Drinking Water to Stop in Muskoka November 11th

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Matt Sitler, Moose FM CFBG 99.5 – Muskoka, Muskoka, Ontario 30-Oct-2013 – It will be November 11th before fluoride stops coming out of the taps here in Muskoka. On October 21st, District Council voted to stop putting fluoride in municipal drinking water and it was expected the last day would be November 4th. The end date is now being pushed forward to the 11th to give residents more notice. Opponents of fluoridation say it’s not good for your health, but others say it prevents cavities. The District plans to notify residents of the end date via local newspapers next week.

District pushes fluoridation end date

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Alison Brownlee,, Muskoka, Ontario 30-Oct-2013 – Fluoridation of municipal water in Muskoka will last a little longer than expected.

Herman Clemens, director of water and sewer operations for the District of Muskoka, said the district had previously targeted Nov. 4 as the date to end municipal water fluoridation in the region, but has since shifted the date to Nov. 11 to allow more time to notify residents.

Clemens said the district received confirmation from the Ministry of the Environment on Oct. 30 that it can stop fluoridation.

“We were waiting for confirmation from the Ministry of the Environment to stop our fluoridation practice. But it doesn’t affect our drinking water permits or our environmental compliance approvals. I just got confirmation this morning concerning that,” he said. “Basically, we can move forward with stopping fluoride.”

But staff wants enough time to notify residents about the discontinuation before it turns off the pumps.

District council decided at its Oct. 21 meeting to stop fluoridating municipal water supplies.

No more fluoride in Muskoka’s water

By: Alison Brownlee,, Muskoka, Ontario 24-Oct-2013 – Fluoride will no longer be added to municipal water in Muskoka.

District of Muskoka council decided at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 21, in a narrow vote of 10 to nine to stop fluoridating municipal water.

Councillors heard two presentations opposed to fluoridation and two in support of it before having a short debate on a motion to reverse their 2011 decision to continue fluoridating the water.

“I’m not going to go into discussion about the research because there is so much data on both sides that we could just continue to go around in circles,” said Huntsville coun. Fran Coleman, who brought the new motion to the council table. “But it is a changing world and I have to ask myself the question, ‘Is the status quo acceptable at this stage?’”

Coleman noted that councillors had heard in the presentations against fluoridation that former accepted practices included smoking on buses and trains.

“At the time, we all believed it was acceptable and there was no harm done,” she said. “Well, we all know that has changed.”

She said the question council faced that evening was one of choice.

“It’s about the people we represent. They deserve choice,” she said. “I don’t feel that I can honestly say to myself that I am worthy of making the decision to medicate a population or a minority of a population that choose or wishes not to have fluoride in their water system.”

Coleman received applause from many of the 40 people sitting in the gallery.

Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, and Dr. Adrian Musters, a member of the Muskoka Simcoe Dental society, spoke in support of fluoridation that evening.

Gardner and Musters argued that fluoridated water prevents tooth decay.

But Jim McEachran, a member of Muskoka Residents Opposing Fluoridation, and Dr. Brian McLean, a dentist, discussed the potential dangers of over fluoridation, the inability to monitor consumption and the ethics of adding a non-essential chemical to drinking water.

Bracebridge coun. Steve Clement, who seconded Coleman’s motion, said he had too many questions about the alleged benefits of fluoridation to support it. And he noted that a large amount of municipal water ends up on food or lawns and he questioned whether it was cost effective for the district to continue spending $50,000 annually on fluoridation.

“The health unit is mandated to protect and promote health and prevent disease. Can we do this without chemicals? I think we can do this for oral hygiene, without chemicals, with brushing and flossing and going to the dentist,” said Clement.

Clement received boisterous support from the gallery.

District chair John Klinck stepped in.

“I might suggest that clapping is most appropriate, but hooting is not,” said Klinck.

Bracebridge mayor Graydon Smith then stood in support of fluoridation.

“I have a bottle-fed baby at home. Four months old. I’m glad fluoride is in the water,” said Smith. “I want my kids to have the best start that they can have.”

He said no one had presented any data against fluoridation that he considered reliable or peer-reviewed that would change his mind.

He added that he was not about to ask for the removal of iodine from salt or vitamin D from milk, either.

But the argument seemed to shift when Huntsville mayor Claude Doughty stood to speak.

Doughty, a retired dentist and former president of the Royal Collage of Dental Surgeons, said he would not debate the alleged health hazards of fluoridation.

“It doesn’t mean that there aren’t repercussions, but it really doesn’t strike me that it is a significant health issue,” he said.

But he said parents and children are more aware today of the need for dental hygiene than in the past and there are more ways to include fluoride in dental maintenance.

“Fluoride wasn’t in the toothpaste when I graduated. It is today. It’s everywhere,” he said. “When you put that against the background of fluoride in the drinking water, it’s additive. At the end of the day, there is more chance of problems from excessive fluoride ingestion.”

The health unit stated earlier that Muskoka has a lower rate of childhood cavities than non-fluoridated communities in Ontario. But Doughty considered the difference insignificant.

And he said half of Muskoka’s residents use wells rather than municipal water and there is no data that examines the difference in tooth decay rates between the two groups.

“Many of those people in outlying areas that are not on municipal services are the most challenged, economically,” said Doughty.

He suggested there was a better way to use the money the district spends on fluoridation.

“I would support removing fluoride from the drinking water if this organization takes that $50,000 and puts it in community services specifically for the treatment of those people who, I can tell you, need emergency dental treatment today,” said Doughty. “It’s an epiphany for me tonight. I’ve never said this in all the years I’ve been involved in dentistry. But I think it’s the right decision.”

Doughty’s comments garnered an enthusiastic response from the gallery.

“Run for prime minister!” shouted one man.

Tony White, acting chief administrative officer for the district, later said the target date for shutting off municipal water fluoridation systems is Nov. 4.

“All of our water systems have licenses and permits. We have to satisfy ourselves that we can shut these systems off without running afoul of our licenses and permits,” said White. “We’ll be talking to the Ministry of the Environment about that.”

The district intends to notify the public as well that it will no longer be fluoridating water.

The decision about what to do with the funds previously allocated to fluoridation will be made during the 2014 budget process.

Fluoride in Muskoka Tap Water Might End Next Week

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Matt Sitler, Moose FM CFBG 99.5 – Muskoka, Bracebridge, Ontario 24-Oct-2013 – November 4th may be the last day fluoride comes out of your tap water. At Bracebridge Council last night, councillor Scott Young said that’s the tentative date for cancelling fluoridation after District Council voted this week to end the practice.

It’s still pending licensing issues and engineers are looking into it – we’ll know shortly.

As for the $50,000 a year in savings the shutdown will bring, it’s not known if it will amount to a break for Muskoka water and sewer users, or if the money will just be put into another area.

Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 24-Oct-2013

Forcible medication not the answer

By: T.d.V (Opinion),, Muskoka, Ontario 24-Oct-2013

The District Municipality of Muskoka council’s decision on Monday night to discontinue the fluoridation of municipal water supplies took many by surprise.

No matter where you stand on the fluoride debate, the issue is divisive.

The decision to stop putting fluoride in Muskoka’s water was passed by just one vote.

What’s even more surprising is that the same issue that some councillors tried to dismiss altogether when approached by a group opposing fluoridation — one considered by some to belong to a fringe minority — got rammed through, leaving many bewildered.

The good news is that democracy is very much alive in Muskoka. A grassroots group determined to change something they were not satisfied with managed to tip the scales against the status quo.  At the end of the day, it means all of those people who fight complacency and are passionate enough to dedicate their time and effort to make a difference, have a fighting chance of being heard — that’s a healthy sign that our representatives are listening and surprises can still happen.

In terms of the actual fluoride debate, there is concern that we are being over-fluoridated through our toothpaste, soft drinks, some foods as well as municipal drinking water. So siding on the side of caution makes sense.

Huntsville mayor Claude Doughty suggested that the funds spent on fluoride at the district be used to help families financially acquire dental care.

That makes a lot of sense. It is certainly better than medicating a population, or part of it, that doesn’t want it.

Kudos to the councillors who saw fit to think outside the box and find a better solution.


Fluoride should be a choice, not the norm

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Kevin Maynard (Opinions), The Silhouette, Hamilton, Ontario 23-Oct-2013 – Most people are familiar with the fluoridated goop at the dentist and the painstaking sixty seconds leaning over a sink, fighting the urge to swallow. This is followed by a thorough rinse as the dentist ensures none of the paste is accidently consumed. Not swallowing is a common trend for just about all products containing fluoride; toothpaste and mouthwash being no exception.

So why is it water, the most fundamental necessity to humans, is being contaminated with fluoride and ingested every day?

For nearly 50 years, Hamilton has added fluoride to their drinking water, claiming that it is essential in preventing tooth decay.

Recent studies prove otherwise.

One of the most compelling arguments to continue water fluoridation is the decline in tooth decay since its origin. This is persuasive, but misleading. The World Health Organization has found that developed countries across the world have shown a decrease in tooth decay, whether they were fluoridated or not.

This contrasting study does not appear on the City of Hamilton’s Public Services website. Instead, all the information is given as a bias to continue fluoridation, creating a monopoly of knowledge that has suppressed the voice of Hamilton residents.

A community can only overpower this monopoly if it bands together and creates awareness.

The City of Hamilton also states that fluoride is naturally occurring, and almost everyone would agree that natural is healthier. Yet, there are many dangerous compounds found “naturally” on earth. An example is arsenic, one of the most poisonous chemicals known to humans.

The same can be argued about fluoride, which may as well pose serious health problems. A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health states there are strong indications that fluoride is linked to declined neural development. Senior author and professor of environmental health at Harvard, Philippe Grandjean, explains, “Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain.”

There are some benefits to fluoride, obviously. Most dentists agree that as a topical agent, fluoride rebuilds and repairs tooth enamel. These benefits are most prevalent if applied directly, not ingested. Therefore, if the average person isn’t rinsing their mouth with fluoridated water before swallowing it, the benefits are minimal.

But there can be too much fluoride.

Fluorosis is a condition the WHO says is caused by ingestion of excess fluoride. Fluorosis is a defect in tooth enamel, shown by white spots and occasionally brown streaks.

With these studies, it seems odd that over 90 dental and health organizations support fluoridation. The City of Hamilton’s website gives links to 14 of these. Of the first six of these links, four led to “sorry, we cannot find the page you requested,” one had no scientific proof and the other was dated ten years ago.

The municipal government makes decisions regarding drinking water, and with outdated information like this, it is inevitable change will not occur. Awareness is the only option.

According to The City of Hamilton, fluoridation is an attempt to provide everyone with access to oral hygiene products. Economically speaking, there are much deeper issues in Hamilton if that many people cannot afford toothpaste and a toothbrush.

The average cost to fluoridate Hamilton’s drinking water each year is $2.50 per household; money that could easily be used to help provide oral hygiene products for those in need. Poverty is clearly the issue Hamilton needs to address, not oral hygiene.

It is barbaric to unwillingly expose Hamilton residents to this chemical. The people should have a right to choose what they are consuming, and more importantly, understand the health risks associated with it. An older generation’s idea is currently being used as a quick-fix approach to solving oral hygiene problems. It is time for the city to abandon this preconceived view and attack the root of the problem.

Citizens of Hamilton will be exposed to this water for many upcoming years, whether they approve or not.

As of right now, there is no choice.

Muskoka to stop putting fluoride in water

By: Tamara de la Vega, Huntsville Forester, Huntsville, Ontario 21-Oct-2013 – In a narrow margin District of Muskoka council voted on Monday night to stop fluoridating municipal water supplies in Muskoka.

There were two delegations speaking on each side of the argument, but in the end council voted to discontinue the practice in a vote of 10 to 9.

There were more than 40 people in attendance at the meeting.

See Thursday’s Huntsville Forester, Bracebridge Examiner and Gravenhurst Banner for more details on this story and check our website for updates.

District Council Votes to Cancel Fluoridation of Muskoka’s Water Supply in a 10-9 Vote

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Matt Sitler, Moose FM CFBG 99.5 – Muskoka, Muskoka, Ontario 21-Oct-2013 – District Council has decided to stop fluoridating Muskoka’s water. The decision came down this evening in a 10-9 vote. Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith was against the decision. He feels there’s no real science backing up the fears of anti-fluoride activists and says none of the scientific papers that have come out against fluoridation are peer reviewed. Those in favour of cancelling fluoridation of Muskoka’s public water supply include Huntsville councillor Fran Coleman, Bracebridge councillor Steve Clement and Huntsville mayor Claude Doughty.

Brewer’s ‘Daily Dose’ 19-Oct-2013

Fluoridation issue is about freedom of choice

By: Geoffrey Capp (Letter to the Editor), Lethbridge Herald, Lethbridge, Alberta 19-Oct-2013

Phooey on the statistics and the studies.

The pro-fluoridation letters say so “for our own good,” with freedom of choice not being relevant to their advocacy. They also fail to explain why it is useful to have this water pouring past our teeth and going through our digestive system where the fluoride can be absorbed into our tissues and vital organs, but that it is not good to swallow toothpaste that has fluoride in it. If the latter is so, neither can it be healthy to swallow so much fluoride as we drink water or eat food cooked in fluoridated water – regardless of the concentration level.

On the other hand, those advocating the removal of fluoride from our water address the issue of freedom of choice. Should we not have the right to decide what goes into our bodies? And at what level of concentration?

Remove the fluoride from our public water supply. Those who want fluoride can fluoridate their own personal water supply. The rest of us will get it by brushing our teeth with fluoride toothpaste, at least, those of us who are convinced it is necessary and safe.

This is a matter of free choice. “Remove the fluoride” advocates personal rights and freedom. “Keep the fluoride” advocates nanny-state attitudes of doing it for their idea of our own good.