May 11, 2017

Archives for February 2017

Budget for fluoridation system climbs

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300

By: Michael-Allan Marion, Brantford Expositor, Brantford, Ontario 17-Feb-2017 – City councillors want to discuss behind closed doors the ballooning budget for construction of a liquid fluoridation system at the Holmedale water treatment plant.

Council’s operations and administrations committee voted this week to support a motion from Coun. Dan McCreary to defer to an in-camera meeting further discussion on a staff request for an additional $350,000 to install a permanent liquid fluoridation system at the plant.

For decades, the city has used a system of putting sodium silicofluoride powder into batch tanks, which then was released into the water treatment stream. But municipal staff observed particulate fluoride settling out in the batch tanks.

A consultant determined last March that the hardness of the water made some of the powder insoluble. A temporary liquid system was put in place last May, while a permanent solution was found.

Council earlier approved allocating $200,000 toward the installation of the permanent system that would inject the fluoride as a liquid. About $50,000 of the budget was used for consultant design, contract administration and inspection fees, leaving $150,000 to pay for the installation itself.

However, staff said in a report to the committee that it is necessary to increase the budget to $500,000 and add another $350,000.

“The estimated cost to implement a permanent liquid dosing system is higher than anticipated, due to more complex than anticipated changes required at the plan,” the report says.

“The proposed system will not only provide adequate fluoridation of the drinking water, but also address required health and safety measures to protect staff and residents.”

Staff said that they asked the consultant to investigate the use of existing out-of-service systems in other areas of the plant for the new liquid system, but were told all were incompatible.

Councillors Brian Van Tilborg and Rick Weaver balked at the budget hike.

Van Tilborg said he fears the city could be getting itself into a hole.

Weaver said he wants to see what other municipalities are doing to fluoridate their water.

“We had a system that worked for 55 years and now we’re hearing it hasn’t worked,” he said.

“I can’t support this.”

The committee voted 8-2 to recommend taking the issue behind closed doors. The recommendation will be discussed at the next council meeting.

http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2017/02/17/budget-for-fluoridation-system-climbs

Peel asks Ontario government to test toxicity of fluoride added to local drinking water

COF-COF Special News Find 300 x 300By: Roger Belgrave, Brampton Guardian, Region of Peel, Ontario 15-Feb-2017 – Peel is asking the provincial government to conduct toxicity tests on the additive used to fluoridate the region’s drinking water.

Regional council wants the Ontario government to provide clear evidence the additive is safe for human consumption.

After months of hearing scientific studies that have concluded water fluoridation has proven oral health benefits and contradictory arguments that the practice poses serious health risks, Peel councillors decided to drop the local controversy in the Ontario government’s lap.

For a year now, councillors on Peel Region’s Community Water Fluoridation Committee have been re-examining the benefits and potential health risks associated with adding fluoride to the municipal drinking water system.

The committee was established to form a recommendation for the regional position on continued use of water fluoridation in Peel.

However, it appears council members are no closer to forming that position than they were a year ago.

Committee Chair Carolyn Parrish admitted councillors have been “struggling” with the contradictory information presented on the benefits and dangers of fluoridation.

“It’s not been an easy committee,” she confessed at recent council meeting, where council agreed to request the province take responsibility for testing and/or regulating the drinking water additive.

Peel is currently using hydrofluorosilicic acid (HFSA) produced from Phosphorite Rock.

Critics of the water treatment have warned HFSA is a highly toxic form of fluoride, produced as a waste byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer manufacturing process.

Regional health and water system officials have assured politicians the water based liquid additive used in Peel is NSF 60 (National Sanitation Foundation) certified, as required under the Safe Drinking Water Act, meets purity standards and complies with all Ministry of Environment and Climate Change regulations.

A motion, presented by Brampton Coun. Michael Palleschi, asks Ontario to carry out comprehensive toxicity tests and/or assume legislative responsibility for regulating and administering HFSA in drinking water across the province.

Brampton Coun. Martin Medeiros was the only council member present at the meeting to vote against the motion.

Medeiros, who described the move as passing the buck, said he is comfortable with the advice received from regional staff on the issue and ready to make a decision on the future of fluoridation in Peel.

“I was elected to make these types of decisions,” he said in an interview.

Staff has consistently said HFSA meets health standards and there is scientific evidence to support the benefits of water fluoridation.

“The vast majority of the scientific community does support (water fluoridation),” Peel Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa told councillors.

She insisted opposition is coming from a small minority of the scientific community.

“It’s not that there’s two equally sized factions,” she remarked.

A loud antifluoridation lobby has countered any information presented in support of the practice.

Brampton Coun. John Sprovieri, a vocal opponent of water fluoridation, said council members are not shirking their responsibility and will make a decision after the province responds to these requests.

Peel had this same debate more than five years ago and decided to continue fluoridation.

http://www.bramptonguardian.com/news-story/7142402-peel-asks-ontario-government-to-test-toxicity-of-fluoride-added-to-local-drinking-water/

Moncton city council extending fluoride decision deadline

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Tori Weldon, CBC News, 07-Feb-2017 – Council is giving itself more time to decide if fluoride will return to the city’s drinking water.

Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold has told a group of citizens council will take more than a month to decide if fluoride will go back into the city’s drinking water.

About 25 people rose to stand behind fluoridation opponent Jennifer Jones as she spoke at Monday’s meeting.

“Many of us watched last Monday’s presentation [and] can’t understand why you would only give yourselves a month to study this issue,” Jones said.

Jones, a mother and teacher in Moncton, asked council to take more time to consider the important decision, although her own mind has been made up.

“Public water does not belong to dentists,” she said. “Public water is not the way to administer a drug, especially a drug as controversial as fluoride.”

One week earlier, council held a special meeting to allow two groups to speak on the issue. Those who favour fluoride in water supplies say it is highly effective in reducing the number of cavities in children.

Those who oppose it say it is dangerous and there isn’t enough information about the long-term effects on people.

Fluoride debate a ‘hot potato,’ says Moncton mayor

Moncton to debate return of fluoride in drinking water

Mayor Arnold and council decided before the meeting that the Feb. 27 deadline should be extended.

“They were in agreement that we need a bit more time to make the decision and to have a proper mechanism in place so we can get the answers to some of our questions because as we dig through some of the research we’re getting more and more questions,” she said.

Arnold said council will meet again to put a timeline in place.

Five-year history

In 2011, a group of citizens approached the city to remove fluoride from the water, citing health concerns and saying medicating water is a violation of rights.

Moncton phasing fluoride out of water

The city endured a contentious debate that year which ended with Moncton council voting 7–4 to remove fluoride from the water supply.

At the time, Dieppe had voted to remove fluoride from the water supply, while Riverview voted to keep it. As the three communities all get their water from Moncton’s Turtle Creek Resevoir, Moncton broke the deadlock between the communities.

Dollars and cents

In 2011, fluoridating the water cost an estimated $100,000 a year.

Isabelle LeBlanc, Moncton’s director of communications, said to bring it back would cost about $60,000 a year in supplies plus maintenance, power and human resources, as well as a one-time cost of $20,000 to update the facility.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/fluoride-moncton-water-decision-1.3969828