February 23, 2019

Archives for January 20, 2016

Residents leave no doubts on fluoride debate

COF-COF News FindBy: Stephannie Johnson, Parry Sound North Star, Parry Sound, Ontario 20-Jan-2016 – With more than 90 per cent support against water fluoridation, Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management hope the debate ends now.

For the last several weeks, the group has been going door-to-door, soliciting signatures in the hopes of avoiding a referendum.

Simultaneously McDougall residents, some who purchase water from the town, have voiced their opposition, through a survey sent out by the township. Of the 88 responses received, 78 ratepayers want the chemical removed, while the remaining 10 want to keep the water fluoridated.

The township has been buying drinking water from the town since 2007.

A total of 349 surveys were sent out to McDougall ratepayers and commercial establishments. Ratepayers have until February 20 to compete the survey.

If ten per cent of ratepayers from both Parry Sound and McDougall are in favour of the removal of fluoride, a referendum could be called.

A referendum would come at a cost of $19,000 plus staff time to the town and approximately $15,000 to $16,000 to McDougall – mere pennies, compared to the cost associated with keeping the water fluoridated.

In June 2015 the town council agreed to continue to fluoridate its water, and shortly thereafter approved the necessary $250,000 upgrade to the water treatment plant to dispense the chemical. Additionally, another $4,500 to $5,000 is needed annually to fluoridate the water.

Parry Sounders for Progressive Water Management member Joe Moloney hopes when he presents preliminary petition numbers to Parry Sound council during his deputation Tuesday that referendum can be avoided. The deputation took place after North Star’s press deadline.

In a copy of his deputation provided to the North Star last week, Moloney applauds council and local dentists and the job they do for the community.

“What this petition is, is a triumph of democracy and citizens’ initiative,” wrote Moloney. “This petition, supported by over 90 per cent of the electorate we have so far petitioned, is a resounding condemnation of the practice of fluoridation of our municipal water with the chemical hydrofluorosilicic acid.”

Moloney said ratepayers welcomed and thanked those knocking on their doors, many asking, “Where can I sign?”

“Council, we have the overwhelming support of the electorate to take this to a referendum, one I am quite confident we would win. Do we want this? No! This would just add more costs to the amounts already spent and the hundreds of thousands of dollars to be spent in the future,” wrote Moloney. “The citizens of Parry Sound and McDougall are speaking with this petition. If you choose to continue, you as council will be responsible for any future costs as well as the burden put on all Parry Sound and McDougall ratepayers for a referendum on a chemical the vast majority don’t want in their water. There is no shame in taking a leadership role in bringing this to an end and moving forward. We know you love this town, we love this town! Let’s immediately put this issue to bed and move on.”

Friday morning Moloney said he hopes by the time this story reaches the streets the issue will be over and if it’s not, he said the group will continue gathering signatures.

“We’re giving council a chance,” Moloney said. “We’ve talked to councillors behind the scene. We’re going to keep going, but we’re not going to break our necks. The whole idea was to go out there and give it, get the 10 per cent we needed.

“If (council) decides to keep putting this off and putting this off we’re going to keep going.”

Moloney guesses the group has covered about one third of the town with “well over 1,000” signatures.

“When you go to door-to-door, people are more apt to talk… they actually have an opinion and that’s what we’ve found. I wouldn’t be so confident if we weren’t getting these results and they weren’t so consistent with each group,” he said. “We’ve had people run across the street, we’ve had people stop their cars and say, ‘Are you the petitioners? Hold on, we’ve got to sign!’”

Heading out nearly every day of the week sometimes in four and five-hour stretches, Moloney said he is both surprised and thrilled with the response.

“The people are speaking, it’s democracy. It’s not, ‘This is what I believe, this is what you believe.’ It’s democracy. People have a say about what goes in their water and they’re speaking loud and clear,” he said. “I’m hoping we get good results (Tuesday night) and when people read this Wednesday, it’s redundant. It’s been really nice. When we went out we did not expect the results we’re getting. We expected people to be positive, but not this positive.”


No consideration by St. Thomas city council to abandon water fluoridation

COF-COF News FindBy: Jennifer Bieman, St. Thomas Times Journal, St. Thomas, Ontario 20-Jan-2016 – The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care is focusing on fluoridation and is reaching out to municipal councils to rally support for its cause.

A letter from the ministry about water fluoridation was presented to St. Thomas city council as correspondence Monday evening. At a time when some jurisdictions are turning their backs on the water treatment, the notice reminds municipalities about the importance of fluoridation for oral health and encourages local governments to continue the practice.

The topic of abandoning water fluoridation isn’t being considered at St. Thomas city council right now and would require regional discussion if it were to take place in the future.

“The choice to add fluoride is made by the member municipalities of the Elgin Area Primary Water Supply System (EAPWSS),” said Justin Lawrence, director of environmental services and city engineer for St. Thomas.

The system supplies drinking water for St.Thomas, Bayham, Malahide, Aylmer, the Municipality of Central Elgin, Southwold Twp. and part of London.
“Drinking water is fluoridated at the water treatment plant just east of Port Stanley,” said Lawrence in an email.

“This area has historically followed the advice of the scientific community to add fluoride to the water system.”

But in other parts of the county it’s a different story. The Municipality of West Elgin’s water supply is not fluoridated and has not been since 2003, according to an Elgin St. Thomas Public Health report.

The entirety of West Elgin and parts of Dutton/Dunwich use water pumped from a treatment plant near the village of Eagle which does not add hydrofluosilicic acid, the chemical used for fluoridation. Residents in some parts of Dutton/Dunwich get their water from the facility near Port Stanley where fluoride is added.

The health unit promotes water fluoridation and wants to see the practice spread to communities across the county. The health unit adopted a fluoride position statement in 2010 and reaffirmed its support of the initiative on the 70th anniversary of community water fluoridation in Canada and the United States last year.

“The health unit supports community water fluoridation as a safe, effective and cost-effective measure for improving oral health,” said said Dr. Maria van Harten, public health dentist at the health unit.

Van Harten said the health unit is available to answer questions from the public or elected officials about the science behind fluoridation and analyzes assessments made by the Port Stanley facility.

“The health unit regularly reviews reports from the Elgin Area Primary Water Supply System who itself is continuously monitoring water quality and fluoride levels,” she said in an email.

The local health unit’s position statement on fluoride and the local water treatment practices is available on its website. Van Harten said members of the public who want to learn more about community water fluoridation can contact the health unit or visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website Ilikemyteeth.org.