February 23, 2019

NO FLUORIDE: Council vote to support fluoridation ties 5-5

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Cornwall Seaway News, Cornwall, Ontario 24-May-2016 – Cornwall’s drinking water will remain fluoride free. A motion from Coun. Andre Rivette, that specifically asked council members if they were in favour of water fluoridation ended in a 5-5 tie.

Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy interpreted the move as the discontinuation of fluoridation in city water, though some city councillors are disputing that suggestion.

The problem lies in the fact that city policies mandate that Cornwall’s water must be fluoridated. Coun. Denis Carr floated the idea that a two-thirds majority of council must vote to change that sentiment, but he was overruled by the mayor.

Regardless of that vote, council did not vote on – or even discuss – spending $340,000 on upgrades to the water filtration plant that must be completed before fluoridation can resume in Cornwall.

O’Shaughnessy said the sentiment in the community was overwhelmingly against water fluoridation.

“Ten people have emailed me to tell me they want fluoride, as opposed to the hundreds who have told me they don’t want it,” said the mayor. “I’ve listened and reviewed the material sent to me…therefore, what I have been doing is listening to the people. Overwhelmingly the people have said they don’t want fluoride in their water. Whatever their reason doesn’t really matter. They are telling me to support them.”

O’Shaughnessy, as well as councillors Claude McIntosh, David Murphy, Maurice Dupelle and Carilyn Hebert voted against the continuation of water fluoridation.

The balance of city council, minus Coun. Justin Towndale who is on leave, voted to maintain the practice.

Coun. Bernadette Clement moved a motion, that was seconded by Coun. Elaine MacDonald, to have the issue put to the public by way of a question at the next municipal election.

That move was resoundinly defeated by council.

The city has been without fluoridated water for nearly three years, since a valve broke at the water filtration plant. To repair the valve and complete other health and safety upgrades would have cost $350,000.



“I can tell you that I have read almost everything that has been sent to me. I have watched everything that has been sent to me.

For me it’s about health care. On technical expertise I turn to our engineers and our urban planners. It doesn’t mean I agree with them…but I rely on their technical expertise. So why would I be different here?

All of these practitioners tell us this fluoridation of water is an appropriate health care measure. My feeling is I have to listen to physicians…and if they say this is a proper process then I have to agree with them.”


“We have to make a decision here. All the information we received here, was on the fluoride. Health and safety, that is a given. I can tell you, in Windsor they are putting it back in.

Council’s decision is to make a motion tonight and to deal with it.”


“We’ve heard from the pros and the cons. The residents of Cornwall elect us to make all the decisions, including the tough decisions. Tonight is the night we need to take the vote.”


“I’m convinced of the validity that our medical experts are telling us. Good sound public policy has to trump the vagaries of public choice. Not all opinions are equal.

How many dentists signed on giving the same opinions? Those opinions count for more than a thousand tweets and Facebook opinions.”


“I see no statistics of a mass epidemic (of dental maladies) in South Glengarry or the counties. The city started treating water in 1962, if it’s such a great thing why do we have five times more dentists than we had in 1962?”


“There’s no doubt about it we have been inundated with information. The process purifies the water and the fluoride is added to protect young people in particular. We have never, ever taken actions that would put any of our employees in danger.

To suggest that we would is terrible.”


“If this is public policy, it’s easy – make it public policy. They did it with smoking, why not this? Vaccines are optional – this isn’t. It’s in our water.

There are options to ensure the people who want fluoride get their fluoride.”


“We are now the most educated to make this decision. We’ve heard it all. I’m still not an expert on this, but I have put a lot of work into reading and watching videos.”

Coun. Mark MacDonald made no public comments on the issue.


Arguments do add up

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: William General (Opinion Letters), Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, Cornwall, Ontario 23-May-2016 – In response to Mr. Renner’s argument against fluoride in our water, the arguments do add up.

I do not know where you got your information from — all the people I have spoken to do not want it back in our drinking water. Period. That includes some members of city council, who I will not name.

Most country’s around the world have banned it, as have a lot of towns in Ontario, Windsor as a prime example.

Just because the Ontario Ministry of Health and others say it is okay does not make it so. Do any of those groups who endorse it have any medical proof it will not affect people’s health? No, because they have not done any research.

There is tons of information in your own public library and on the Internet, about the dangers of drinking it and handling it (fluoride).

Are you aware that city council in Parry Sound voted to put it back in their water, much to the anger of the whole town who took up a petition to remove it? And, they did remove it.

Why are you so in favour of it, do you have shares in the companies that produces this poison?

Do you know where it comes from? From the dirty chimmeys of alumium plants.

It’s against the law to dump it in our landfill sites, yet some want to put it in our tap water. Get real.

William General



Avoid fluoride consumption — it serves no useful purpose

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Patrick J Ducharme, Ducharme Fox LLP (Reader Letters), The Windsor Star, Windsor, Ontario 20-May-2016 – Re: Fluoride decision may be taken away from municipalities, by Dave Battagello, May 16.

Windsor council’s vote to remove fluoride from the city’s drinking water in 2013 was courageous and intelligent. Any effort by the province to reverse that decision should be rejected.

The recent water crisis in Flint has produced one positive effect. The public knows now to question whether our drinking water is safe. And, reliance upon government agencies, environmental authorities and the pharmaceutical companies that benefit from the sale of fluoride is foolhardy.

Here are some of the salient reasons that led to Windsor rejecting fluoride:

Fluoride is an endocrine disrupting, neurotoxic and bone-weakening substance.

Fluoride is recognized as a drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Sodium fluoride can only be dispensed by prescription.

Humans have no recognized physiological need for fluoride.

Adding fluoride to drinking water prevents controlling the amount consumed or the persons affected, including children too young to provide informed consent.

It is important to know that Windsor’s decision to remove fluoride, while informed, was not unique. Hundreds of communities and countries have decided likewise. Virtually all of Western Europe has rejected water fluoridation.

Fluorosis results from increased consumption of fluoride. The toothpaste industry is keenly aware of the possibility of successful lawsuits not unlike those that have been launched against the cigarette industry.

They know that fluoride must pose a danger because they place prominent warning labels on all toothpaste that contains fluoride. Some manufacturers warn parents to supervise their children’s tooth-brushing and to teach them to prevent swallowing toothpaste.

Our politicians should not be swayed by those bought and paid for by Big Pharma, including members of any Dental Association. Fluoride is a drug. Last year over 100,000 persons in the United States died from the negative side effects of drugs taken as prescribed.

Fluoride serves no useful purpose. Its consumption should be avoided.


Fluoride at dentist’s office different than in drinking water

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Christine Moody (Reader Letters), The Windsor Star, Windsor, Ontario 20-May-2016 – I think our council is weak to consider passing on the decision of whether or not to fluoridate Windsor’s water to, of all places, the Ontario Liberal government.

Drew Dilkens and Percy Hatfield, I was at those council meetings back in 2013 and heard what you heard. Who’s now pressuring you to unlearn what you knew to be a truth back then? Are you listening to dentists who are mandated to support fluoridation as a condition of their license?

Flouridealert.org is one site that answers a lot of questions and provides a lot of stats on fluoride use worldwide. And, if you didn’t already know, the fluoride added to drinking water is not the fluoride applied to your teeth at the dentist’s office. Not even close, and this is important.

They want you to ingest this stuff, not soak your teeth with it. If you have a fluoride treatment at the dentist office, they make you spit it out, but now, they want you to drink it.

The Dental Association studies will tell you cavities are up since fluoride was removed from Windsor’s water. Good people of Ontario, ask yourself how often your kids asked for a glass of tap water before or after it was fluoridated?

Dental health is often genetic and we’re taught that we should brush our teeth, floss, stay away from sugar and go to the dentist every six to nine months.

Do people think drinking fluoridated water relieves you of the responsibility of just taking care of your teeth and hoping the gene gods smile kindly upon you?

If our current council doesn’t have the backbone to keep our water safe, then it’s time for new blood.


Council to discuss three fluoride options at next week’s meeting

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Cornwall Seaway News, Cornwall, Ontario 19-May-2016 – City councillors will debate three options for fluoridating Cornwall’s water at a meeting next week.

The options include voting to spend at least $350,000 on upgrades at the water filtration plant that will allow for the return of hydrofluorosilicic acid (the active ingredient that creates fluoride), do no repairs at all or referring the matter to the general public by way of a question at the next municipal election, an online survey or social media feedback.

While the city has policies in place that mandate fluoride in our water, the practice was suspended three years ago when health and safety concerns at the filtration plant forced municipal managers to discontinue its inclusion.

Since then councillors have booted around the issue, holding a number of meetings on the subject and hosting both proponents and critics of water fluoridation at city hall.

Regardless of the decision council makes, there is still some 15,000 litres of toxic hydrofluorosilicic acid (HFSA) in storage at the water filtration plant that must be removed – at a cost of $43,000.

“It is imperative to remove the HFSA,”reads a report from city infrastructure manager John St. Marseille. “The HFSA is a very strong acid containing heavy metals and it must be managed accordingly. Also, with warmer weather and more humidity at the (water plant), the off-gasing potential of hazardous hydrogen fluoride is enhanced.”

Next week’s city council meeting takes place on Tuesday, following the Victoria Day long weekend.


Fluoride provincial take-over applauded

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Peter Langille, AM800 CKLW, Windsor, Ontario 17-May-2016 – The Windsor Essex County Medical Officer of Health agrees the decision of fluoridation in water should be a provincial decision.

Dr. Gary Kirk is reacting to proposed legislation that would remove the choice of adding fluoride to the drinking water supply from municipalities.

Speaking on the Lynn Martin Show on AM800, Dr. Kirk says the health unit is still waiting for the legislation to be passed.

He says making it a provincial decision is the most fair.

Kirk says fluoridation has scientific credentials: “the most august scientific bodies in not just Canada but also the US and the world believe emphatically that water fluoridation is a safe effective and equitable measure to take”

He agrees with Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens that it is not an issue local politicians are well versed on.

The local board of health passed a resolution in December of 2014 supporting fluoridation in the drinking water supply.


Fluoride issue reeks of politics: union

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Cornwall Seaway News, Cornwall, Ontario 05-May-2016 – The argument concerning water fluoridation has gone political, and does not address safety concerns at Cornwall water filtration plant, the union representing operators at the facility has said.

Alan Armstrong, president of CUPE local 3251, told Seaway News in an interview Thursday the general public is missing out on a major component of the debate.

“This thing was something that started as a health and safety issue and it kind of morphed into the pros and cons of the fluoride issue,” he said. “And it’s become a very political topic.”

Indeed city council has heard from two groups, both for and against the fluoridation of Cornwall’s drinking water.

The union has significant concerns with the use of hydrofluorosilic acid (HFSA), the toxic compound added to the water to create fluoride.

The union had asked to make a similar presentation to city council, but was turned down because such a move would have been against procedural bylaws. City councillors, by way of a two-thirds vote, could have overridden the bylaw – but no such move took place.

“We’re not questioning fluoridation or its benefits,” said Armstrong. “What we’re questioning is HFSA. It’s a serious hazard to the workplace.”

Health Canada and Environment Canada have published warnings related to the acid, and even city environmental services manager has deemed HFSA an extremely dangerous product, by way of a report to councillors.

Should council vote to return to water fluoridation, workers at the plant will have to be retrained on how to properly administer HFSA to the water supply. Health concerns at the plant three years ago forced the city to abandon the practice.

Workers will likely have to wear hazmat suits, and operate in containment rooms, should HFSA use return. There are still some 15,000 litres of the acid in storage at the treatment plant, and Armstrong said the product has no business in the city now, or in the future.

“It comes in by transport,” he said. “What if there’s an accident?

“Right now the morale is pretty low, with these guys,. They’re really concerned with this. You can put all the measures in place that you want, but there’s always going to be that chance of error. Whether it’s a mechanical breakdown or human error.”

Armstrong also sounded the warning on potential costs for taxpayers. While the city has set aside money to cover the $350,000 cost expected to fix the issues at the plant, should water fluoridation resume, there is still a $50,000 annual cost associated with the practice.

And Armstrong said anyone who thinks the upgrades will only cost $350,000 is dreaming.

“If you look at the costs that are going to be involved and the extent of things they will have to do, that’s a red flag,” he said. “Regardless of how you fund this, the taxpayer pays for it. If they pull it out of reserves…they have to pay that back. Water bills are going to have no choice but to go up.”

Proponents of water fluoridation have said the health benefits far outwiegh other concerns.

Medical officer of health Paul Roumeliotis recently told city councillors Cornwall is in dire need ot fluoridated water.

“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 a recent 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.

Monday’s city council agenda does not include any material related to the fluoride debate, and it’s believed councillors won’t make a decision on this issue until its May 24 meeting.


Calgary councillors explore alternatives to fluoride in water

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Erika Stark, CBC News, Calgary, Alberta 03-May-2016 – There’s growing concern over the dental health of children in low-income families in Calgary.

A free dental service for people without insurance closed last week, and earlier this year, a University of Calgary study showed that the rate of tooth decay among children has shot up ever since the city stopped adding fluoride into our water.

Some thought that news would reignite the fight to bring back fluoride. But so far, it hasn’t, but Couns. Richard Pootmans and Diane Colley-Urquart, are looking for alternatives.

“We’re taking a close look at this,” Pootmans told the Calgary Eyeopener. “I’m actually the last councillor left who voted to keep fluoride in the water so I maintain an interest in this.”

“There’s not a ton of council support at the moment, but I’ve been seeking solutions about the issues and the resources to help dental health.”

In a controversial decision in 2011, Calgary city council voted to remove fluoride from the city’s water supply. The savings from that decision — about $750,000 a year — temporarily went into studying ways of improving dental health for children living in poverty, Pootmans said.

“It was the best we could do at the time,” he said. “I think it’s time to revisit this issue.”

Colley-Urquhart and Pootmans have both been in contact with the Alberta Dental Association and various other stakeholders to seek other solutions.

There’s little support from council for reintroducing fluoride into the water, but the issue is “not just about fluoride treatment,” Pootmans said.

He said the city could look at providing more sustainable funding to the city’s social agencies for dental care, or ask the province for support.

“For those in need, starting off with poor dental health often means a lifetime of poor general health,” Pootmans said.


COLUMN: Council common sense

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Phillip Blancher (Opinion), Cornwall Newswatch, Cornwall, Ontario 26-Apr-2016 – Cornwall city council issued a small dose of common sense at their meeting Monday evening. This comes from dealing with a petition to ban train horns at the Tollgate Road grade crossing in Cornwall. The petitioners stated they wanted the horns to stop, as there are other safety appliances in place at that crossing.

The petitioners should get their terminology correct when trying to ban something. Railroad locomotives use air horns, not whistles. Whistles have not been used since the end of the steam locomotive in 1960. Diesel locomotives use an air horn. Each air horn is mandated to sound at a level between 96 and 116 decibels. This is a similar level to an ambulance siren or a rock band performing. Why so loud? So that it can be heard.

The idea of banning anything that helps prevent the collision between a 134 tonne passenger locomotive crossing a road at 160 kilometers per hour and a vehicle is stupid at best. Bells, whistles, horns, and flashing lights, all exist to help keep everyone safe. What is next? Ban seat belts because you don’t like having to use a buckle? The railroad through Cornwall was built in 1855. It has been in operation for 151 years. It is not as if the railroad just appeared out of thin air one day, surprising the neighbours with its existence. If the residents did not want to live near train whistles, don’t buy a house near railroad tracks. It is that simple.

Cornwall council agreed and defeated this petition. If anything came out of this petition, it is that the city’s policy for dealing with petitions needs to change. If you look at the last page of the submitted petition, line 52, readers will see one “Slim Shady” as a signatory. Verification of petitions must be done to avoid wasting time. According to this petition, international rap music star Marshall Mathers a.k.a. Eminem was in Cornwall and no one knew. Legitimate media companies in Cornwall should be ashamed for missing the story. An opportunity lost.

If there is a subject that needed the same common sense applied in Cornwall by council, it is the issue of fluoridation in the drinking water system. The system has been broken for years. There has been ample debate on the merits and issues with putting fluoride back into the drinking water system. The financial cost is known. The experts have had their say. How difficult is it to make a decision on this? Yearly budget consultations take less time and handle bigger issues.

One councillor suggested this should have been a referendum issue on the ballot during the last municipal election. No, it should not. Council of the day voted not to remove fluoride from the drinking water system but didn’t move ahead with fixing the broken system. If the current council wants to spend the money to put it back in, then vote on it and quit wasting time waffling.

Councillor Denis Carr stated that councillors rely on experts to make decisions. To a point the councillor is correct. Except the experts here are biased. Fluoride can be filtered out of the water if you don’t want it, and it would take a lot more treated water than is humanly possible to drink to get fluoride poisoning. The lack of treated water is not going to make much of a difference to children oral health compared to the high amount of sugar ingested due to poor diet. Sugary drinks and cheap junk food are a far greater risk to teeth than a chemical in the water.

If Eastern Ontario Health Unit staff already administer fluoridation treatment programs in area schools, is the expense of adding fluoride to the drinking water in Cornwall needed? Should their efforts not be more focused on nutrition?

What council needs to do is decide the matter once-and-for-all. Call a vote, use common sense, and be decisive. This council has shown it can use common sense, it should not be selective when it does so.


The battle over fluoride in Cornwall’s water

COF-COF News Find 300 x 300By: Greg Peerenboom, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, Cornwall, Ontario 26-Apr-2016 – Cornwall council members appeared Monday to reflect the general public’s feelings on whether drinking water should contain fluoride.

In other words, all over the place.

Some councillors want it, some don’t and others remain undecided.

A pro-fluoride presentation to council that relied on the science, but also sound public policy, from local medical officer of health, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, and chief dental officer of Canada, Dr. Peter Cooney, didn’t convince Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy for one.

“For me to make a balanced decision, I won’t be able to do so,” O’Shaughnessy said in winding up comments to Roumeliotis and Cooney.

Then the mayor admitted: “If there was a vote, I would vote against fluoridation in the water.” which prompted brief applause from the gallery, which was made up of those opposed to fluoride, as well as several city dentists.

He explained that despite a wealth of pro- and anti-fluoride documentation, he doesn’t feel qualified enough in this field to properly analyze it to make a decision based on science alone.

“If there are wise councillors, they make the right decision,” Cooney said, which prodded Coun. David Murphy to reply: “So I have to be a scientist?”

“If you have the right science,” answered Cooney, sparking some chuckling from the gallery.

O’Shaughnessy did, however, feel he could base a decision on the general public’s views, even though “whatever the reasons are of the public, they are not mine to know.”

Earlier, Roumeliotis and Cooney provided a two-pronged approach to show why the city should return to fluoridation, which stopped when an equipment failure occurred in summer 2013. Since then, council hasn’t felt convinced to debate whether they should spend about $300,000 for new equipment that would make the application of hydrofluorosilicic acid at the water treatment plant safe.

Roumeliotis focused his attention on reminding council they would be missing an opportunity to increase the health levels of the city’s poorest residents, whose overall health is compromised by their depressed socio-economic status.

“You’re trying to even the playing field,” said Roumeliotis, explaining that few poor people go to the dentist due to a lack of dental plans and/or limited funds.

Roumeliotis pointed out the most recent data is already indicating that Cornwall children are showing more cases of dental caries (cavities) than in area communities that provide fluoridation, such as Hawkesbury.

Earlier, Cooney explained that for every $1 spent on fluoride, $38 is saved on dental bills.

Cooney also cited that one out of three Canadians don’t have a dental insurance plan, answering a musing about coverage from Coun. Claude McIntosh.

Earlier McIntosh wondered if other ways of providing fluoride treatment should be considered, acknowledging the stance that residents should be given individual choice.

Cooney had explained that European countries utilize milk products, salt and direct intervention at the school level.

Cooney also explained that residents could install a filter in their home to avoid the consumption of fluoride.

The chief dental officer did dwell on science, but not in the detailed specifics that were provided by anti-fluoride crusader Dr. Paul Connett at council’s April 11 meeting.

He pointed to several peer reviews of findings that indicated Health Canada’s continued fluoride support.

For example, Cooney tried to debunk the claim that IQ declined due to fluoride ingestion.

He noted that IQ in Americans increased by 15 points between the 1940s and 1990s. Meanwhile, fluoridation use increased to 67 per cent from 3.3 per cent from 1951 to 2012.

“IQ is keeping pace.”

Cooney also tried to calm fears of fluoride’s toxicity.

For an acute reaction, “you would need to drink 15,000 litres of (fluoride-added) water at one seating.”

For chronic symptoms of fluoride poisoning, he said “you would need to drink 15 litres of water everyday for 10 years.

“That should give you a level of comfort of what’s in the water.”