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Archives for April 25, 2016

Fluoride an issue of equality of dental care: Dr. Paul

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Cornwall News Watch, Cornwall, Ontario 25-Apr-2016 – The region’s top doctor zeroed in on the demographics of Cornwall as he made the case to continue fluoridation of the city’s drinking water.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis was joined by Canada’s Chief Dental Officer, Dr. Peter Cooney, in making the case to continue putting fluoride in the city’s water system.

Showing a number of slides on the demographics, nearly 40 per cent of people in older age groups in Cornwall have dental carries, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said.

“Access to dental care is an issue…when we’re talking about equity…we believe there are benefits. We have seen issues in other communities that have stopped fluoridation,” the doctor said.

“We are seeing increasing trends in Cornwall…our dentists are seeing increasing instances of dental carries,” Dr. Roumeliotis said.

“You’re trying to even the playing field,” he said.

Dr. Roumeliotis added that “an already sicker population” in Cornwall, with higher rates of chronic diseases, is only compounded by the lack of dental care.

In an attempt to dismiss assertions from anti-fluoride activists of the toxic nature of fluoride, Canada’s Chief Dental Officer, Dr. Peter Cooney, said you would have to drink 15,000 liters of water at one sitting for it to be toxic.

“I can assure you, in terms of fluorosis, this is not a problem,” said Dr. Cooney, pointing to stats showing less than three tenths of one per cent (3 kids in 1,000) had moderate or severe effects. Those children were from China and India, the doctor stated.

Dr. Cooney also pointed to a Centers for Disease Control study showing $1 spent on fluoride saves about $38 in health care. “You are getting good bang for your buck,” he said.

“I hope that you will be as wise as you were back then (2013) and put it back in,” the country’s top dental doctor said.

“This is a win-win,” Dr. Cooney said.

The doctors faced pointed questions from Coun. David Murphy, a fluoride skeptic. He asked if it was so important, why wasn’t fluoride mandated.

Dr. Cooney felt that the responsibility should be left with municipal officials with the “right scientific data,” to the chuckle from anti-fluoride activists in the audience.

Coun. Justin Towndale suggested people didn’t have a choice when injesting fluoridated water. “You can pick up a filter at Costco…there are different mechanisms to remove it…they do have a choice,” Dr. Cooney answered.

Coun. Maurice Dupelle said the city probably “missed the boat” and should have put a referendum on the ballot in the last municipal election.

“The longer we wait, we’ll find out the hard way,” Dr. Paul Roumeliotis added.

Coun. Denis Carr said, as city councillors, “we rely on the experts” to suggest what we should be doing.

On a question from Clerk Helen Finn said the previous council had voted against taking fluoride out of the water. The issue of fluoridating water suddenly became part of the debate over what was originally a safety issue with the broken equipment.

Coun. Bernadette Clement suggested the people of lower income seemed to be more supportive of having fluoride in the water. She asked about whether to have a referendum.

Dr. Cooney suggested the councillors were elected to make the best decision for the people.

“For me to make an opinion…to make an informed decision will always be a struggle,” Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy said. The mayor suggested the community is split.

The mayor said, if a vote were held tonight, he would vote against fluoride in the water.

Up until the system broke in 2013, Cornwall had been fluoridating its water since 1962.

A decision on water fluoridation wasn’t made tonight but will come up for a vote at an upcoming meeting.


UPDATE: Fluoride should return say doctors, but arsenic found in acid

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Cornwall Seaway News, Cornwall, Ontario 25-Apr-2016 – Proponents of water fluoridation said Cornwall’s overall health will suffer if the practice is abandoned.

Paul Roumeliotis, the local medical officer of health, and Canada’s chief dental officer Dr. Peter Cooney, told councillors Monday too much scare mongering is taking place from critics of the practice.

Cooney said one would have to drink as much as 15,000 litres of water in one sitting to get a toxic dose of fluoride.

“There is a huge level of safety between what is in your water and what is toxic,” he said.

But that hasn’t stopped critics from expressing concern with the issue.

The acid used to fluoridate Cornwall’s water contains arsenic, said Peter Van Caulart, executive director of the Environmental Training Institute in Niagara, prior to Monday’s city council meeting.

He said the 15,000 litres of hydrofluorosilicic acid in storage at the water treatment plant in Cornwall could contain as much as 800 grams of arsenic – a poisonous substance.

Van Caulart arrived at this conclusion after receiving a sample of the acid, which shows it contains about 55.75 parts per million of arsenic. The material he shared with the media prior to the council meeting has also been shared with city council, he said.

Van Caulart, who trains water and wastewater operators in Niagara, was asked to come to Cornwall by the union representing such operators at the Cornwall treatment plant.

“The process of fluoridation is not a process to treat drinking water,” said Van Caulart. “It’s done after the water is already clean.

“There is no excuse for topping up what isn’t found in the water naturally.”

But that is exactly what happened Monday night at city hall when Roumeliotis lobbied city councillors to return fluoride to Cornwall’s water supply.

“The Cornwall area has higher rates of chronic diseases, all of which are worsened by poor oral health,” he said. “If the fluoride is not in the water (dentists) are going to be working 24-7.

“We know (area citizens) tend to be sicker, and we know there is no coverage. We know that with age, the percentage of people with dental insurance goes down. And our elderly are getting less coverage.”

Many local dentists attended the Monday council meeting, and Roumeliotis said as many as 20 have signed a petition seeking a return to water fluoridation in Cornwall. He added a number of dental associations have made similar commitments.

“Oral health really is a picture of our overall health. It’s (poor dental health) one of the most common chronic diseases – more common than asthma,” he said.

The city has been without fluoridated water for nearly three years, after safety concerns at the treatment plant forced the city to abandon the process.

Roumeliotis refuted material provided just two weeks ago from an American university professor who lobbied city council to abandon water fluoridation for good.

Among reams of material filed with the city clerk for his Monday presentation is specific mention of hydrofluorosilic acid, the material added to Cornwall’s water supply in the past to create the fluoride which proponents argue results in stronger teeth.

“Once introduced into drinking water, due to the pH of that water, the (acid) is immediately and completely hydrolyzed (broken down),” reads a response to a presentation made at the previous council meeting by St. Lawrence University professor Paul Connett. “After this point, (the acid) no longer exists in that water. It does not reach the tap. It is not ingested. It is therefore of no concern, whatsoever.”

But in its pure form hydrofluorosilic acid is extremely toxic, and city environment manager Morris McCormick has even labeled it a “significant” risk to health and safety.

Roumeliotis pointed to the health benefits of drinking fluoridated water, including a reduction in tooth decay of up to 40 per cent in people of all ages.

He further suggests every dollar invested in fluoridating water results in a $38 savings in dental treatments.

The practice of fluoridating Cornwall’s water was abandoned three years ago when health and safety concerns at the city’s water treatment plant became evident.

It will cost taxpayers as much as $350,000 to fix the safety issues at the plant, and an additional $50,000 a year to operate with a fluoridated system.



COF-COF Media Release 19-Feb-2016 An Unscientific Tale of Two Cities – A Critique of the 2016 McLaren et al. Edmonton Calgary Fluoridation Cessation Study  Feb 19, 2016

COF-COF Media Release 25-Feb-2016 To The Canadian Press Regarding the 2016 McLaren et al Edmonton Calgary Fluoridation Cessation Study  Feb 25, 2016