March 21, 2019

Archives for October 2016

Fluoride debate not expected in Sault

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Elaine Della-Mattia, Sault Star, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario 27-Oct-2016 – A symbolic resolution passed by the Ontario government is giving notice to municipalities that it does not support removing fluoride from tap water.

The legislation, which was recently passed with the support of all parties, is not considered binding but designed to encourage and educate Ontarians about the health benefits of fluoride in tap water.

To have or remove fluoride in drinking water has been debated within communities across Ontario – and Canada – for decades.

Many health officials advocate for fluoride in tap water while opponents counter that too much fluoride can cause neurological damage.

As a result of the resolution, Health Minister Eric Hoskins has said he and Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, will write to every municipal government and public health agency across Ontario in support of fluoridation.

Sault Ste. Marie CAO Al Horsman said he has not received that letter in his office yet.

However, Horsman said the city would look to the PUC to review and comment on the issue and from that, determine whether the matter should be brought before council.

A member of council can also choose to write a motion and seek the support of council for it.

Sault PUC communication supervisor Giordan Zin said the PUC has no plans to implement fluoride in tap water.

“We are working on our water quality issues first and we are seeking continued improvements in that area,” Zin said.

Sault Ste. Marie residents have rejected adding the fluoride chemical to the city drinking water on three occasions.

The last time was in 1985, by a margin of 63.5%, an even higher margin than the two previous referendums, in 1968 and 1970.

At that time, the city was said to be one of just four Ontario municipalities with populations over 80,000 that did not fluoridate. Wawa residents opted to add fluoride in the same municipal election and neighbours in the Michigan Sault drink fluoridated water.

In 2007, then-city councillor James Caicco attempted to bring the matter before the public again, but other councillors defeated a motion that requested a report, thus strangling the debate at an early stage.

Dentists and public health units have consistently advocated that adding fluoride to tap water is the most simple, cost-effective way to strengthen and develop children’s teeth.

In recent years, some municipalities have shut off the tap, ending fluoride in municipal water. Statistics show that those communities have seen increases in dental decay.

Despite the new provincial legislation, the issue is not one that the Algoma Public Health will raise at this time.

Ann Cuzzolino, a registered dental hygienist with APH said it is the responsibility of the city to request that the health unit open the fluoride debate again.

“APH has always supported fluoride as one of the most important population-based health strategy measures for the community,” she said.

In addition, the World Health Organization also considers fluoride a best practice, she said.

Since Sault Ste. Marie currently doesn’t have fluoride in its water, residents are encouraged to visit family dentists regularly for dental care and preventative fluoride treatment. Fluoridated toothpaste, brushing regularly and monitoring sugar intake are also other ways encourage healthy dental practices.

Fluoride has been added to tap water by municipalities since about 1945.

Fluoridation does not affect the appearance, taste or smell of drinking water. The controlled injection of the mineral to the public water supply is designed to reduce tooth decay.

There is some natural fluoride in drinking water but not enough to prevent tooth decay.

Province warns cities against removing fluoride from water

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Kristin Rushowy (Queen’s Park Bureau), Toronto Star (the, Mississauga, Ontario 21-Oct-2016 – The province has put municipalities on notice that it doesn’t support any move to remove fluoride from tap water.

While a resolution — recently passed in the legislature with the support of all parties — is not binding, it doesn’t mean the vote has no teeth.

“I wanted this to be a much sharper resolution, to send even my own minister a very clear message that it is the will of the House, not once but twice … (to) move ahead with legislation that makes it mandatory — and that was, in fact, the opinion of the House,” MPP Bob Delaney said.

Peel Region, which encompasses his Mississauga—Streetsville riding, is now studying the issue, with some councillors pushing to eliminate fluoride.

Delaney said it’s been an issue in Peel for a few years and “it explodes from time to time” with “people bringing junk science” before local governments.

The evidence in support of fluoridation is “clear, comprehensive and conclusive,” he said.

The resolution states that the province update both the Fluoridation Act and the Ontario Municipal Act “that allow a municipality to either opt out of fluoridation of its drinking water, once the process has started, or to fail to start the fluoridation of municipal drinking water,” Delaney said in the legislature.

In addition, the province will work with cities and towns with funding to either begin or upgrade fluoridation systems “so that all Ontarians, to the fullest extent practicable,” have access to it.

But Brampton Councillor John Sprovieri, who also sits on Peel Region’s council and its water fluoridation review committee, doesn’t believe the provincial government is serious about fluoridation — it if was, he said, it would have taken a harder line.

He believes municipal governments lack the expertise to determine if fluoridation is warranted. He also provided research he’s seen that outlines a number of health risks and concerns, especially with exposure to fluoride over time. Plus, he said, with toothpaste, improved diets and better overall health, fluoridation is not necessary. Peel, he added, is facing a lawsuit should council retain the fluoride treatment.

The recent provincial resolution is the second time Delaney has brought on this issue. Health Minister Eric Hoskins said he and the province’s chief medical officer of health recently wrote to every local government and health officer across Ontario in support of fluoridation “whenever feasible because the science and evidence is obvious.”

Calling fluoridation “one of the great public-health breakthroughs of the last 100 years,” Hoskins said the government “will continue to look at opportunities and other measures we can take to provide this important public-health intervention to as many Ontarians as we can.”

Canadian cities began adding fluoride to water in 1945. While the mineral is naturally occurring, more is added to water supplies to bring it up to a level thought best to fight tooth decay and cavities. Some cities, such as Stratford, Ont., have enough naturally occurring fluoride that none is needed.

However, in recent years, some municipalities have ceased the practice, spurred by opponents who cite fears of dental fluorosis (staining or pitting from too much fluoride), as well as bone or neurological damage and cancer.

But Paul Andrews, a professor at the University of Toronto who is the graduate clinic director of pediatric dentistry, said anti-fluoride groups are “very active and they come very well prepared — but as with just about any topic, if you search long and hard enough on the Internet, you can find anything to support anything.”

He said their arguments are not based on sound science and noted more than 90 national and international scientific organizations support fluoridation, including Health Canada.

“Everyone is in complete support of fluoridation and the significant benefit it provides in particular to the people who need it most,” because it is easily accessible and there’s no out-of-pocket expense for families.

Communities that have removed fluoride have seen an increase in dental decay. In Moncton, N.B., dentists recently pleaded with the city to reverse its decision. In Calgary, where fluoride was removed in 2011, the rate of cavities in kids increased at a faster rate than in nearby Edmonton over a 10-year period.

“I feel the results are consistent with the results of stopping fluoride but there are (other) things going on as well,” said professor and researcher Lindsay McLaren of the University of Calgary.

She cautioned that some of the studies cited by the fluoride critics on are based on animals and also said dental fluorosis can’t happen given the level of fluoridation in Canada unless someone drinks excessive amounts of water all the time.

Mississauga East—Cooksville MPP Dipika Damerla said it’s worth keeping a close eye on happens in Peel, which would affect about a million residents. “Because it is such a large regional municipality, the rest of the province is looking at Peel as well,” she said in the legislature. “What Peel does could have a domino effect in terms of what other municipalities do.”

With files from Robert Benzie and The Canadian Press

‘Fluoride is a deadly poison’ Peel’s water fluoridation committee has heard

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Roger Belgrave, Mississauga News, Region of Peel, Ontario 15-Oct-2016 – Members of Peel Region’s Community Water Fluoridation Committee heard in no uncertain terms that the longstanding water treatment practice is a serious threat to general good health.

New Delhi researcher and professor Dr. A.K. Susheela spoke to the committee for about 30 minutes during a meeting Thursday.

The committee is re-examining the use of fluoride in the region’s drinking water and whether the practice holds real oral health benefits or poses a potential health risk.

As widely accepted as water fluoridation has been, there is a loud and passionate anti-fluoride lobby that has helped reignite serious debate at the highest levels of Peel Region government.

Findings by the committee will formulate a recommendation to regional council on the continued use of water fluoridation and a stated regional position on the presently accepted practice.

Susheela, executive director at India’s Fluorosis Research and Rural Development Foundation, was in town after speaking at an event organized by the opposition group Concerned Residents of Peel to End Fluoridation.

The organization’s chair, Mississauga resident Liesa Cianchino, convinced the committee to hear a presentation from Susheela, who is considered an informed anti-fluoride expert with global recognition.

Her fervent opposition to water fluoridation is in sharp contrast to positions held by Health Canada, Ontario Ministry of Health and other health bodies, organizations, scientists and medical officials all over the world.

But her stance has ample support amongst the growing anti-fluoride lobby worldwide, including many parts of Canada.

Canada, Australia and Britain are among the last few corners of the globe still clinging to the idea water fluoridation has benefits, Susheela told members of the committee.

Armed with decades of scientific research, she appeared at the committee as an authority on the harmful health effects of fluoride.

“Fluoride is a deadly poison,” said Susheela, who also insisted squeezing toothpaste along the full length of your toothbrush bristles is too much.

The idea that fluoride is vital to preventing tooth decay is an outdated notion and contradicted by up-to-date scientific research, she suggested.

Fluoride is an abundant mineral naturally present in the environment.

Susheela, who also has spoken to the British parliament on the issue, said high levels of the mineral could cause tooth decay or debilitating ailments such as skeletal fluorosis.

Tooth decay is not a fluoride deficiency disorder, she argued, but a result of bad oral hygiene.

She explained ingesting fluoridated water, in addition to numerous other sources of exposure, essentially creates toxic levels in the human body.

“What matters most is what is circulating in your body,” according to Susheela.

Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards identify the maximum acceptable concentration of fluoride in drinking water as 1.5 mg per litre.

The optimal concentration of fluoride in drinking water to promote dental health is 0.7 mg per litre, according to Health Canada. This is the level Peel Region seeks to maintain.

Susheela insisted less is better when it comes to the water additive.

“Fluoride is a poison. That’s it. No fluoride is good,” she concluded.

The committee is hearing submissions on an invitation basis only and Mississauga Coun. Jim Tovey suggested hearing from an expert on the other side of the debate.

A number of presenters on opposite sides of the argument were invited to a closed-door workshop held by the committee last January.–fluoride-is-a-deadly-poison-peel-s-water-fluoridation-committee-has-heard/

Ontario move toward mandatory water fluoridation doesn’t mean much for fluoride-free Windsor

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Dalson Chen, Windsor Star, Windsor, Ontario 13-Oct-2016 – The provincial government may want to prevent municipalities from removing fluoride from their water supplies — but that doesn’t mean much for fluoride-free Windsor.

Last week, the Ontario legislature passed a non-binding motion that would “remove the portions of the Ontario Municipal Act that allow a municipality to … opt out of fluoridation of its drinking water.”

The motion was put forward by Mississauga-Streetsville MPP Bob Delaney, whose home region of Peel has been discussing an end to water fluoridation.

Delaney argued that the province should provide financial and technical assistance to communities “so that all Ontarians, to the fullest extent practicable, are protected with municipal drinking water fluoridation.”

Along with the Liberal government, both the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives supported the science behind Delaney’s motion.

However, the non-binding nature of the motion means it’s not enforceable — a fact not lost on Dr. Gary Kirk, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

“While we welcome the motion, we, too, recognize the motion is more symbolic than substantive,” Kirk said.

After heavy debate, Windsor city council voted in January 2013 to stop adding fluoride to the municipal water supply.

Now close to four years later, Kirk said WECHU’s position remains unchanged: Community water fluoridation should be required for all municipal water systems, as it has a direct impact on dental health.

“Community water fluoridation is essential to minimize tooth decay, and help to restore and strengthen tooth enamel,” reads the health unit’s standing statement on the issue.

“Global health experts and scientific evidences support community water fluoridation to prevent tooth decay.”

Kirk said the health unit hopes to present local impact data to city council before Windsor’s moratorium on water fluoridation expires (in early 2018).

Meanwhile, impact data is being scrutinized at other Canadian communities that ceased water fluoridation.

Earlier this year, a study by the University of Calgary’s school of medicine found that since 2011, when Calgary decided to stop adding fluoride to its drinking water, tooth decay amongst children in Calgary has worsened compared to tooth decay amongst children in Edmonton — where water is still being fluoridated.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, who tabled the original municipal motion to cease fluoridation of Windsor water, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Kimberley DeYong of the citizens’ group Fluoride Free Windsor argued that since the recent provincial motion is non-binding, the Ontario government hasn’t really done anything new on the issue.

She said that if Ontario pursues real legislation to stop fluoride removal, she wants to know if the MPPs will assume the legal responsibility that the Safe Drinking Water Act currently places on municipalities.

According to DeYong, the health unit’s own oral health reports indicate that local dental surgeries have decreased since Windsor stopped water fluoridation, and there’s even been slight improvement in terms of tooth decay amongst children up to Grade 2.

As for the University of Calgary study, DeYong said both Calgary and Edmonton showed increases in tooth decay, and she doesn’t think the statistical difference between them is significant.

“This isn’t about teeth — It is about water providers supplying the safest drinking water possible,” DeYong said.

Ontario move toward mandatory water fluoridation doesn't mean much for fluoride-free Windsor

Group opposing water fluoridation brings expert to speak to public and Peel council members

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Roger Belgrave, Brampton Guardian, Brampton, Ontario 11-Oct-2016 – The group calling for an end to water fluoridation in Peel and challenging the longstanding practice in court, has brought fluoride and fluorosis expert Dr. A.K. Susheela from New Delhi to speak at a public event this week and convinced regional council members to hear a presentation from the professor.

Susheela is scheduled to be keynote speaker at a public presentation Wednesday (Oct. 12) in Oakville.

The event is organized by the Concerned Residents of Peel to End Fluoridation.

The community organization is chaired by Mississauga resident Liesa Cianchino, who launched the ongoing court challenge against the region and provincial government two years ago to stop water fluoridation in Peel.

Wednesday’s presentation, entitled The Harmful Effects of Fluoride on Human Health, is at Le Dome, 1173 North Service Rd., from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets at the door are $20.

Thursday at 8:30 a.m., Susheela is also scheduled to speak to the Region of Peel’s Community Water Fluoridation Committee, which is re-examining the benefits and health risks that may come from adding fluoride to Peel’s drinking water.

That meeting is in the regional council chamber on the 5th floor of administrative headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Dr. in Brampton.

Susheela, Executive Director, India’s Fluorosis Research and Rural Development Foundation, is billed as one of the preeminent world experts on fluoride intoxication.

In the court challenge initiated in September 2014, Cianchino claimed the Fluoridation Act and Peel Region are violating charter rights and the region’s artificial water fluoridation program violates the Safe Drinking Water Act and Food and Drugs Act.

The right not to be subject to medical treatment without informed consent is protected under the charter, Cianchino said in her initial statement of claim.

The legal action characterizes artificial water fluoridation as an imposed form of mass medication.

Furthermore, she and her lawyer contend available evidence does not support the need for water fluoridation to decrease tooth decay rates and the practice does more harm than good.

Cianchino is seeking a permanent injunction to stop the longstanding water treatment practice in Peel as well as $600,000 in damages.

The provincial government and Peel Region are named as defendants in the action.

Ontario legislature votes to ban cities from removing fluoride from their water supplies

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Ashley Csanady, National Post, 06-Oct-2016 – The Ontario legislature voted Thursday to ban cities from removing fluoride from their water supplies.

Though the motion brought forward by a Liberal MPP is non-binding — meaning it’s more symbolic than prescriptive — it could send a clear signal to cities and suggest where the government is headed next.

Mississauga-Streetsville MPP Bob Delaney brought the issue to the floor of the legislature because Peel region, which includes his riding, has a motion on its book to remove fluoride form its water. The negative ion has been added to drinking supplies since the 1950s after it was discovered areas with more naturally occurring fluoride had better dental health. Stratford, Ontario, is one city where there’s enough natural fluoride it doesn’t need more added, Delaney said, but other cities need a bit more for the dental health benefits to take effect.

And Peel is far from alone in considering what Delaney called the “junk science” behind anti-fluoridization campaigns.

From Prince George, British Columbia, to Moncton, New Brunswick, cities across the country have opted to remove fluoride from their water. Dentists and public health experts in the Atlantic province have urged city councillors to reverse course in a statement this week. The call follows the release of a study earlier this year examining dental health in Calgary, which stopped fluoridating its water in May 2011. The study found grade 2 students’ dental health declined measurably within three years of the cessation.

That’s just the latest tidbit of evidence about the safety and efficacy of water fluoridation. Medical officers of health and dental organizations across the country have urged cities to reconsider plans to remove fluoride from municipal water supplies. These experts have sought to counter the anti-fluoride misinformation campaigns that have prompted many municipal governments to consider removing the additive from drinking water.

“It is imperative that public health decisions be rooted in science and evidence — and the evidence on water fluoridation is clear,” Ontario Minister of Health Eric Hoskins, himself a medical doctor, said earlier this year. “The benefits of water fluoridation are well documented and have been endorsed by groups ranging from the Canadian Dental Association and Public Health Agency of Canada to the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

“In fact, the Centers for Disease Control has called the use of fluoride in drinking water one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th Century,” he said.

Hoskins was responding to discussion in Brampton, Ontario, about a possible referendum on fluoride. The spread of misinformation online has fuelled anti-fluoride activists across the country into calling on municipal politicians to remove the mineral — which occurs naturally in lower doses in soil, water and food — from drinking water. Starting in the 1960s, it was commonly added to water supplies to improve dental health, but then in the mid-1990s some communities across North America and in the United Kingdom started to remove it, over trumped-up health concerns.

Water fluoridation is, and must be recognized, as a very important measure to protect the health of Ontarians

A number of cities in Ontario, including Windsor and Waterloo, have voted over the past decade to remove the chemical, and others have considered removing it it as recently as this year. The discussion in Peel Region prompted Hoskins and Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams to write the heads of municipal councils about the issue. They raised concern about the “growing number of communities across Ontario that are choosing to discontinue fluoridation of their municipal drinking-water system in spite of consistent evidence that water fluoridation is a safe and effective method to reduce the risk of oral health problems.”

“Tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease among Canadian children,” they wrote, adding it has been linked to everything from heart disease to low birth weights. “Water fluoridation is, and must be recognized, as a very important measure to protect the health of Ontarians.”

Both opposition parties at Queen’s Park supported the science behind the motion.The New Democrats pointed out fluoride is beneficial, but the motion fails to acknowledge people who live off private wells don’t drink fluorinated water or the plight of indigenous communities without a clean source of drinking water. The Tories noted the science is sound, but said it does little to further the issue to dismiss those who won’t believe the science as “silly.”

That prompted Delaney to respond, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts.”

Ontario legislature votes to ban cities from removing fluoride from their water supplies