April 22, 2019

Fluoridation of our water – the never-ending story

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: (Blogs) Mississauga News, Mississauga, Ontario 27-Feb-2016 – You could be forgiven if you conclude that the protracted squabble about Peel’s drinking water really is a Communist conspiracy, or part of a movie sub-titled How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love The Fluoride Debate.

It appears we’re headed into another round of an ongoing dispute that has appeared to be settled several times in the past.

Almost five years ago, regional councillors voted unanimously to continue the four-decade-old practice of adding small amounts of fluoride to drinking water, which innumerable studies have shown provides dental health benefits.

Ontario Chief Medical of Health Arlene King spoke at that meeting saying, “the benefit of drinking-water fluoridation should not be under-estimated. As tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease among Canadians of all ages and, as poor dental health is linked to diabetes, heart disease and respiratory conditions, water fluoridation is an extremely important health measure. In fact, water fluoridation has been called one of the greatest health achievements of the 20th century.”

It’s also been called one of the most heinous plots against mankind by its many vociferous opponents, who inexplicably seem to have found the ear of a growing number of Peel councillors.

Opponents of the practice, including Clarkson’s Leisa Cianchino, who has taken the Region to court to try to stop it, believe  fluoridation is mandated mass medication. They want Peel to join a growing list of cities who have ignored the advice of the wide breadth of dental and medical experts. Cianchino has called fluoridation “unsafe, unproven, unethical, unnatural and harmful.”

The anti-fluoride forces certainly seem to have won the battle of the Internet, which is flooded with their many concerns.

They weren’t discouraged by their local loss in 2011 either, nor by a motion by Mississauga-Streetsville MPP Bob Delaney approved by the Ontario Legislature in November, 2014 which endorsed the practice. Delaney introduced the motion because he became alarmed by the number of candidates in the last municipal election who succumbed to “junk science.” He termed the fight to end fluoridation “egregiously stupid.”

At least opponents have dropped the historical meme that fluoridation is a Communist conspiracy against our “precious bodily fluids”, as memorably satirized by actor Sterling Hayden in Dr. Strangelove.

Council fluoridation doubters, led by Brampton Councillor John Sprovieri attempted an end run around the practice recently. They were headed off at the bypass and now a more representative committee of regional councillors will cover the same territory again.

That came following an “educational session” to illuminate the issue. When publicly-elected councillors are learning more about a key public health issue that’s been the centre of paranoid interest for years, doing it in secret provides just the right note of irony.

The combined expertise of Health Canada and Ontario’s health ministry, supported by reams of confirming studies, have constructed the well-tested fluoridation regime. Peel’s Medical Officer of Health and the Halton-Peel Dental Associations support it.

Councillor Sprovieri suggested recently that councillors shouldn’t be debating the issue because it’s an issue “beyond the expertise of municipalities.”

The municipalities and the politicians don’t have to be experts. All they have to do is have the good sense to listen to those who are.