February 8, 2018

No fluoride will be added to Nipawin’s water

COF-COF Special News Find 300 x 300By: Devan C. Tasa, Parkland Review, Nipawin, Saskatchewan 13-Jul-2017 − There will be no fluoride added to Nipawin’s drinking water.

The town’s council made the decision at their July 10 meeting.

Rennie Harper, Nipawin’s mayor, said the town was asked by the medical health officer to consider adding fluoride due to the new water treatment plant that’s under construction. After some research, council looked at holding a referendum, which was voted down.

At the July 10 meeting before the vote, council looked at holding a non-binding plebiscite. That was also voted down.

Harper said the decision to not hold a referendum or plebiscite on the issue affected how she voted.

“I do feel that it is a big topic, it affects people’s health and when I wasn’t able to hear from the public, the citizens of Nipawin at large, I felt a decision to fluoridate wasn’t one that I wanted to make.”

“Every member of council had their own reasons for deciding such,” said Barry Elliott, the town’s administrator, “but they did have the opportunity to consider all of the options for closure on the matter.”

According to a report to council written by Elliott, the current plans for the water treatment plant don’t have the equipment to add fluoride. The administrator said if a future council decided to add fluoride, the cost of doing so would be inexpensive.


Fluoride question to be decided by Nipawin council

By: Devan C. Tasa, Parkland Review, Nipawin, Saskatchewan 16-Jun-2017 − Nipawin council, not the public, will decide if fluoride should be added to the town’s drinking water.

They defeated a motion at their June 12 meeting to hold a referendum on Sept. 20 asking the public about the issue.

“Council meeting had been hearing from the public that they had elected people to make the decisions,” said Rennie Harper, Nipawin’s mayor, “so it was defeated to go to referendum five to one.”

Harper was the only council member to vote for a referendum.

The mayor said that when council votes on the fluoride question, the medical health officer will come and do a presentation.

“That would give, in my opinion, the public the chance to hear the information, since council is then going to make up their mind.”

Harper said she wasn’t sure when that vote would show up on the agenda.


City council to receive a report on fluoride in water

By: Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer 29-May-2017 − Council chambers at Sarnia city hall was bustling with talk about water fluoridation Monday, where a packed house listened as two doctors presented the pros and cons.

“At a baseline, the overwhelming majority of evidence is in favour of continuing water fluoridation,” said Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton County’s medical officer of health

Ranade said water fluoridation is an effective way to guard against tooth decay, provided it’s regulated properly.

The practice is backed by the World Health Organization, Centres for Disease Control and many other reputable bodies.

Its benefit in reducing tooth decay is especially poignant among children, he said, noting the data generally needs further clarification.

Advocates also argue having fluoride in water means it’s available for lower-income portions of the population who might not have access otherwise.

But fluoride is in toothpaste and a host of other things, meaning it can build up and causes fluorosis – mottling – in teeth, said Dr. Hardy Limeback, former head of preventative dentistry at the University of Toronto .

One in 10 children in Canada has some degree of fluorosis, he said, noting he’s researched the impact of fluoride in water for decades.

Applied topically, fluoride has benefits, he said.

Ingested, it’s a different story.

“Once it gets in your cells, it’s like a bomb goes off,” he said, noting a study he conducted found it lowers bone strength.

Several studies also show it affects brain chemistry and lowers intelligent quotient, he said, when it builds up beyond the recommended level.

That happens more with people who consume more water, like athletes, kidney dialysis patients and babies on infant formula, he said

“It’s my opinion, based on the research we did … it can cause bodily harm,” he said.

“It does not provide the dental benefits as claimed and is not cost effective at all.”

In terms of cost, he said, it’s basically a wash in terms of preventing cavities and fixing fluorosis.

Sarnia last tackled the issue of water fluoridation in 2013, voting 5-4 to take it out of the water.

But Sarnia is part of the Lambton Area Water Supply System (LAWSS) and has continued with fluoridated water since because most other member municipalities with the utility voted to continue with the practice.

Representatives were invited to attend Monday’s meeting, but none were there, said Sarnia City Coun. Andy Bruziewicz, chairperson of the LAWSS board.

He said he hoped they were watching the video feed.

It’s unclear what happens next

Bruziewicz noted information is being collected by staff until June 2 for an eventual report to council.

“So that may outline the path towards the future a little bit,” he said.

Those interested can email comments via fluoride@sarnia.ca.

Several residents booked time to speak Monday on the issue. Most were opposed to fluoride in water

Municipalities like Windsor, Vancouver and Calgary have ended water fluoridation.

The evidence to end the practice needs to be stronger to make a move, Ranade said.

Evidence in support also needs to be stronger and updated, he said, suggesting Sarnia-Lambton should try to be involved in advancing that research.


Transportation Minister comments on 401 safety as Mayors lobby for stricter winter driving laws

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: CKWS TV, CKWS Newswatch, Kingston, Ontario 01-May-2017 – Canada’s busiest highway is also one of the most dangerous… especially in bad weather.
A point driven home by this chain reaction crash and chemical spill last March.
A Hamilton trucker died in the 401 pile-up east of Gananoque, during blizzard-like conditions.

“A few hours late could have saved a life. It could have saved that life.”
Mayors in Eastern Ontario are banding together — calling on the province to take action — to prevent future tragedies like this one.
The municipal resolutions range from reducing speeds on all 400-series highways during bad weather events …. banning trucks hauling dangerous goods when driving conditions are poor… or closing highways outright.
Different strategies … but with the same goal.

Roger Haley/Mayor, Front of Yonge Township:
“They do it in a couple of states in the US. They take them off the highway. It’s a safety thing. All the way around — for people and the environment. It can be done.”

While banning dangerous cargo in bad weather is one approach — Haley say the province can take other measures to protect the safety of all motorists.

“If we can get them to slow down first… that would be an important first step.”

Del Ducaè
“I’m happy to have a conversation with municipal leaders.”

Ontario’s transportation minister says he’s heard about the growing concerns voiced in this region…. and is willing to meet with the mayors to discuss solutions.
But Stephen Del Duca says there’s also an element of common sense that must apply.

Steve Del Duca/Minister of Environment:
“I would say that everybody who uses the 401 or any other highway or road on Ontario knows, particularly when transporting potentially dangerous goods to drive according to the conditions of the road.”

While 401 safety is the focus of many concerns … local mayors also worry that some measures could cause other problems.
Reducing 401 speeds, they fear, could funnel more highway traffic onto secondary routes, through small towns.
While the government isn’t ready to commit to any new safety strategy … Haley says at least it’s on the minister’s radar.


Also See:

1 dead after 30-vehicle crash, chemical spill on Highway 401 near Kingston (29 patients treated at hospital, including 13 first responders who underwent decontamination)

Victim identified, cleanup and investigation underway in 401 crash

Fluoride-in-water issue pops up at city council (Fern Cormier said he and other councillors routinely get questions on the topic from residents)

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Darren MacDonald, Sudbury.com 28-Mar-2017 − Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier asked city staff Tuesday for all the information the city has about putting fluoride in the city’s drinking water system.

Cormier made the request Tuesday as councillors were reviewing the annual report on the state of the city’s water system. He said it’s an issue he and his colleagues are asked about all the time.

“There are pretty regular and frequent emails that I think most of us on council receive from constituents with questions around the levels of fluoride that are in our drinking water system,” Cormier said. “Anyone who goes on the Internet and googles the issue will see a myriad of results on both sides of the argument.”

The issue was in the news in 2016 when Nairn and Hyman Township council voted to remove fluoride from the community’s water supply. The township has had fluoride in its water supply since the early 1990s, but passed a motion last April to remove it.

The Sudbury and District Health Unit quickly condemned the move.

“I am very concerned by the Nairn and Hyman Township Council’s decision to remove fluoride from its community water supply,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Sudbury and District medical officer of health, in a new release at the time. “This is a significant step backwards for oral health for this community. Community water fluoridation makes sure that everyone benefits from the protection that fluoride provides against tooth decay — regardless of factors such as income, age, residence, or education.”

The health unit has said painful tooth decay remains the most common chronic disease in Canadian children and causes much avoidable suffering and stigma. Adding fluoride to the water provides the preventive effects of fluoride to individuals who may not be able to afford other types of fluoride, such as toothpaste and professional treatments.

While he certainly wasn’t proposing the city follow suit, Cormier said Tuesday it was a good time to collect information to respond to questions from residents.

“A lot of municipalities have taken this up as an issue of debate around council tables,” he said. “Because we’re receiving our annual report on water quality, I felt it was timely to pose the question and ask staff for any past research or studies that they may have with respect to the levels of fluoride we have in our water and how they relate to the safety levels as set by the Province of Ontario.”

Nick Benkovich, the city’s director of water/wastewater services, said fluoride levels are in the range of 0.5 to 0.8 mg/litre, well within provincial guidelines.

“It’s very tightly controlled and monitored on a 24-7 basis,” Benkovich said.


Peel anti-fluoride lobby spotlights toxic cleanup needed after Hwy. 401 pileup − Water fluoridation chemical spilled

Tractor-Trailers On Snowy 401 highway After 14-Mar-2017 Crash East of Toronto Results In Hydrofluorosilicic Acid Spill Prompting Officials To Evacuate Area COF-COF.caBy: Roger Belgrave, Brampton Guardian, Brampton, Ontario 17-Mar-2017 − Peel water fluoridation opponents are pointing to the extensive environmental cleanup needed this week, after a Highway 401 pileup, to illustrate the serious health risks associated with the local water treatment practice.

The multi-vehicle collision in the westbound lanes of Highway 401 in Leeds and the Thousands Township occurred at about 2 p.m. on March 14.

It resulted in one death, dozens hurt and a 32-hour closure of a portion of the busy highway.

One transport truck involved leaked its cargo of hydrofluorosilicic acid (HFSA), a chemical produced from phosphorite rock that is commonly used in water fluoridation.

According to Ontario Provincial Police, the “toxic spill” resulted in a precautionary evacuation of the immediate area and seven firefighters, three police officers and 17 civilians were treated, as a precaution, for exposure to the chemical.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the transport truck leaked about 7,000 litres of the chemical.

The ministry helped co-ordinate cleanup and assessed containment and environmental impact.

A spokesperson said cleanup measures included collecting acid from the leaking containers, applying a stabilizer to neutralize acid that could not be pumped from the accident scene, and removal of contaminated soil and neutralized material.

“There are no known private drinking water wells impacted,” said an email from the ministry. “The environmental consultant has been asked to provide the ministry with a second plan to address longer term monitoring.”

Opponents of the water treatment, which received council go-ahead to continue last week after a contentious review, have insisted HFSA is a highly toxic byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer manufacturing process.

This unfortunate highway accident and resulting environmental scare is proof of how toxic the chemical is, according to the anti-fluoride lobby.

“HFSA is a clear and present danger in our water, on our roads and to the workers forced to handle it,” said Christine Massey, a local anti-fluoride activist.

During the recent review of water fluoridation in Peel, regional staff and health officials assured council and the public the levels of HFSA in community drinking water are safe to consume.

The Region of Peel said 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.

“In order to ensure the safety of staff and residents, all products used in Peel’s municipal water supply meet strict requirements defined by national accrediting organizations,” Peel Region public works manager Jeff Hennings said in an email. “Peel’s water is carefully monitored to ensure it meets all appropriate provincial regulations.”

At a March 9 meeting, councillors endorsed a motion from the region’s community water fluoridation committee reaffirming the municipality’s commitment to oral health, while recommending fluoride concentrations in local drinking water be reduced to 0.5 milligrams per litre and switched to a calcium fluoride additive to address concerns about the toxicity of Peel’s current additive.


Victim identified, cleanup and investigation underway in 401 crash

Tractor-Trailers On Snowy 401 highway After 14-Mar-2017 Crash East of Toronto Results In Hydrofluorosilicic Acid Spill Prompting Officials To Evacuate Area COF-COF.caBy: Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa, Ontario 15-Mar-2017 – LANSDOWNE – A 45-year-old Hamilton man has been identified as the victim of a multi-vehicle collision that led to a chemical spill and closed Highway 401 for hours east of Brockville.

Police identified the victim as Ian Meville, a transport-truck driver. Police did not identify the cause of death.

Police confirmed a “serious collision involving transports” along Highway 401 westbound lanes near kilometre marker 675 early Tuesday afternoon in which a corrosive material spilled onto the road and some vehicles were reportedly trapped underneath transport trucks.

Provincial police advised Wednesday afternoon that the highway remains closed in both directions for the investigation. (See detour map at bottom of the story.)

Meaghan Quinn, spokeswoman for Kingston General Hospital, confirmed late Tuesday that said a decontamination bay was opened at the hospital for all those who were exposed to the chemical, noting that the substance had been confirmed as fluorosilicic acid.

The official Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) covering industrial use of this acid says it is irritating to the airways, and can cause skin irritation, redness or swelling. Extended breathing of fumes can cause “burning sensation, coughing, wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, headache, nausea and vomiting.”

It recommends people exposed to it should be taken into the fresh air, and skin should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. If necessary flush the eyes with water for 20 minutes. The MSDS instructions say people may wish to see a doctor if symptoms are severe.

The acid is used in fluoridating water, and in aluminum production.

Twenty-nine patients were brought to the hospital, which declared a “code orange,” meaning non-critical emergency admissions were routed to nearby Hôtel Dieu Hospital to make way for crash casualties.

Thirteen of the injured were first responders, Quinn said.

By 9 p.m., a number of patients had been discharged and others were being held for observation before it was decided whether they would be released or admitted.

Earlier, the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands said in a Facebook post that “all persons with potential chemical exposure (have) been transported for medical attention. No residential properties were affected and there is no risk to the general public.”

According to witnesses’ postings on social media accounts, emergency vehicles and fire rescue trucks were being used to take victims who had been exposed to the hazardous substance to an impromptu decontamination centre established at the township fire station in Lansdowne.

Township Mayor Joe Baptista said at the scene “at least 20” people were sent to hospitals from the Lansdowne control centre.

“There was at least one individual in critical condition, and a second individual in serious condition,” Baptista said.

Patients were brought to a control centre at the fire station where they went through a decontamination process.

“(They had) to be completely hosed down. Your clothing and everything is taken. Anything on your person has to be removed,” he said.

Brockville General Hospital spokesperson Abby McIntyre confirmed BGH admitted one person involved in the crash with minor injuries, with the rest of the victims sent to Kingston.

An emergency response in TLTI, led by the township’s ‘community control group,” was initiated around 3 p.m. as first responders were on site and co-ordinating a medical response.

Ottawa Fire Services Hazmat unit — one three designated agencies for hazardous materials incidents for the whole province — was contacted by the Office of the Fire Marshal to assist responders.

At 5:15 p.m., response crews reported the chemical spill had been contained.

“All vehicles have been rerouted and all persons with potential chemical exposure having been transported for medical attention,” said Elaine Mallory, the township’s director of planning.

Cleanup crews had arrived on site by late afternoon to remediate the area of the chemical spill. The Ministry of the Environment was among those on site of the spill.

First responders termed the highway pileup as a “mass casualty” event due to the number of people exposed to the hazardous chemicals carried by the leaking tanker truck.

Anybody who endured even minor inhalation exposure to the substance was being taken to hospital, according to responders.

The chain-reaction collision reportedly involved a dozen or more tractor trailers in the wind-driven blizzard conditions along the Hwy. 401 corridor, along with many passenger vehicle collisions.

Images and social media users’ videos as well as eyewitness reports portrayed several jackknifed tractors across the road or tipped into the median of the highway.

(With files from Sabrina Bedford, Brockville Recorder and Times)

Victim identified, 401 reopens as investigation into crash continues

1 dead after 30-vehicle crash, chemical spill on Highway 401 near Kingston (29 patients treated at hospital, including 13 first responders who underwent decontamination)

COF-COF Special News Find 300 x 300By: CBC News 14-Mar- 2017 (Last Updated 15-Mar-2017) – Kingston General Hospital says one person has died following a massive, 30-vehicle crash on Highway 401 east of the city that spilled a toxic substance at the scene.

The afternoon pileup closed the highway in both directions and forced motorists to evacuate from the area.

In a statement Tuesday evening, the Kingston hospital said it received 29 patients from the crash scene, including 13 first responders who underwent decontamination and were held for observation as a precaution. Some of the patients have already been released.

The OPP said a male driver of one of the tractor-trailers involved in the crash died as a result of his injuries.

The hazardous material unit was called in because some of the tractor-trailers involved in the crash were carrying caustic materials, later identified as fluorosilicic acid, according to the hospital.

“Exposure to the chemical could cause irritation to the nose, throat, respiratory system, irritation, redness or swelling of the skin and severe eye irritation,” the statement said.

The flood of patients has diminished and the hospital declared a code orange over at 8 p.m. ET. According to the Ontario Hospital Association, code orange is used in the event of an external disaster resulting in a surge of casualties seeking care at a hospital urgent or emergency department.

“One of the involved transports is leaking a toxic substance, as a precaution the area is being evacuated,” said Const. Sandra Barr in a news release. “Both east and westbound 401 will be closed to allow for the investigation. Detours have been set up.”

The eastbound and westbound lanes of Highway 401 remain closed from Reynolds Road to Mallorytown Road.

Barr told CBC News some first responders were exposed to the chemical while coming to the aid of the driver of a transport truck, who was taken to hospital for his injuries.

“The five firefighters, for sure, were involved in trying to rescue this driver who was in his transport, and the three police officers as well,” she said.

Medical attention required

The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, where the crash occurred, said in a statement that the site has been contained.

“All vehicles have been rerouted and all persons with potential chemical exposure having been transported for medical attention. No residential properties were affected and there is no risk to the general public,” a spokesperson for the township wrote at 5:15 p.m. on the municipality’s Facebook page.

“The Ministry of the Environment has been notified and cleanup crews have arrived on site to remediate the area from the chemical spill.”

Police described conditions on the highway as “near whiteout” when the crash occurred around 2 p.m. ET.

Gananoque police posted a message on their Facebook page saying that according to the Leeds Fire Department, the hazardous material that leaked turns into hydrofluoric acid if exposed to heat.

“Hydrofluoric acid is a highly toxic, highly corrosive and poisonous solution which is harmful to skin, lungs and eyes.”

Decontamination bay

Kingston General Hospital set up a decontamination bay for patients, according to spokesperson John Pereira.

Non-critical emergency patients were rerouted to Hotel Dieu Hospital, also in Kingston, said Pereira.

Police asked motorists at the scene to stay in their vehicles while emergency crews carried out their work.

Emergency responders from the surrounding area, including Ottawa fire services, were at the scene.

About 30 vehicles, mostly tractor-trailers, were involved in the crash, according to Acting Sgt. Angie Atkinson.


One dead after multiple transport collision, chemical spill on Highway 401

COF-COF Special News Find 300 x 300By: Cris Vilela, Kingston Heritage, Kingston, Ontario 14-Mar-2017 – OPP report that one male is deceased following the multi-vehicle pile-up and chemical spill that took place on Highway 401 in Leeds and Thousand Islands Township Tuesday afternoon.

Ian Meville, 45, of Hamilton, was transported to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Meville was a transport driver involved in the westbound primary collision.

The incident was labelled a “mass casualty event” due to the high number of people exposed to a hazardous material, which leaked from one of the tractor trailers involved.

An OPP investigation revealed that there were in fact two separate collisions. The primary collision occurred just east of Highway 137 and involved five tractor trailers and one car. Police say the driver of one of the tractor trailers has since succumbed to his injuries.

The secondary collision also took place in the westbound lanes, about one kilometer west of the first and involved seven tractor trailers and three vehicles. There were multiple chain reactions after the fact behind those two collisions. In the same vicinity on eastbound Highway 401, three other tractor trailers were involved in collisions.

The leaked hazardous material, fluorosilicic acid, turns into hydrofluoric acid if exposed to heat, according to the Leeds Fire Department. Hydrofluoric acid is a highly toxic, highly corrosive and poisonous solution which is harmful to skin, lungs and eyes. Extrication of the driver carrying the liquid was required after the transport ended up in a ditch. A HAZMAT team was called to the site. The transport was carrying between 7,000 and 10,000 litres of this liquid*, most of which leaked all over the roadway.

Several people were reported to have become covered in the hazardous liquid. The fire department set up a decontamination area in the eastbound lanes to treat those exposed; they were instructed to disrobe and remove contact lenses if they had them.

OPP report that a total of seven firefighters, three police officers and 17 civilians were treated for exposure to the substance as a precaution. Frontenac Paramedics also report that three members of their team were treated for exposure.

Kingston General Hospital declared a Code Orange (Mass Casualty Event) late Tuesday afternoon due to the large influx of patients from the collision scene being brought in for treatment. KGH opened a decontamination bay for all those who were exposed to the chemical. Exposure to the fluorosilicic acid could cause irritation to the nose, throat, respiratory system, irritation, redness or swelling of the skin and severe eye irritation.

The hospital reports that it treated 29 patients in total as a result of the accident, 13 of whom were emergency services first responders who underwent decontamination and were held for observation as a precaution. The Code Orange was declared over at 8 p.m. KGH says their emergency department returned to business as usual operations at that time. The hospital began to discharge some patients involved in the 401 pile-up Tuesday night.

If you believe a family member or loved one may be at KGH as a result of the accident, please call the hotline at 613-549-6666 ext. 4704 for info.

The Ministry of the Environment has been notified and clean-up crews have arrived on site to remediate the area from the chemical spill.

Highway 401 will remain closed indefinitely in both directions between Mallorytown and Lansdowne.

A Wednesday morning news release from the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands said that response crews at the scene of the chemical spill were hampered by the winter storm, which continued overnight. Daylight will offer opportunity for a full reassessment and continued action.

“The Emergency Response Action Plan has been reviewed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change as well as Hazmat officials and its implementation will be monitored through the day based on current situational analysis” said Mayor Joe Baptista in a press release. “Once again we reinforce that there is no immediate danger to the public and that the site is contained.”

Residents and travellers are encouraged to avoid the area and allow additional travel time to suit weather conditions and detour routes.

More information will be updated as it becomes available.

*Amended from an earlier estimation of 14,000 litres


Peel council unanimous in voting to continue with water fluoridation – Province asked to check toxicity

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Roger Belgrave, Brampton Guardian, Brampton, Ontario 09-Mar-2017 Peel will continue fluoridation of the region’s drinking water system.

In a decision one anti-fluoride activist called criminal, Peel council members unanimously voted to continue the long-standing practice of adding fluoride to the municipal water supply ­— albeit at a slightly lower concentration.

At a March 9 meeting, councillors endorsed a motion from the region’s Community Water Fluoridation Committee.

The committee was established more than a year ago to probe the health benefits of water fluoridation and recommend a regional position on the decades-old practice in Peel.

Last month, committee members passed a motion to reaffirm the region’s commitment to oral health, while recommending fluoride concentrations in local drinking water be reduced to 0.5 mg/l and a switch to a calcium fluoride additive to address concerns about the toxicity of Peel’s current additive.

Mississauga Coun. Carolyn Parrish, chair of the committee, had earlier told council that coming to a definitive regional position on water fluoridation had been difficult process given all the contradictory information from experts, advocates, health officials and scientific studies on both sides of the debate.

When the review began, she noted, there were members of the committee bent on removing fluoride from the drinking water.

“Some have changed their position. I’m one of them,” remarked Parrish, who added the motion was a compromise derived with the best interest of residents in mind.

But it is still unacceptable to anti-fluoride activists such as Brampton resident Christine Massey who view fluoride as a poison.

She spoke to council before the vote and reiterated her fears about the toxicity of the fluoride residents consume in water from their taps.

She accused the council of “illegally drugging” residents and pleaded for at least a moratorium on fluoridation while the region awaits response from the provincial government on a request to test toxicity levels of the local additive and assume responsibility for administering municipal water fluoridation in Ontario.

Brampton Coun. John Sprovieri, a loud anti-fluoride voice on council who supported the motion, isn’t optimistic about the province taking action on those requests.

Debate on the issue six years ago also ended with council unanimously deciding to continue fluoridation.