June 2, 2017

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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. http://www.theobserver.ca/2017/05/29/city-council-to-receive-a-report-on-fluoride-in-water

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. Haley: “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. http://www.ckwstv.com/2017/05/01/transportation-minister-comments-on-401-safety-as-mayors-lobby-for-stricter-winter-driving-laws/ Also See: http://cof-cof.ca/2017/03/1-dead-after-30-vehicle-crash-chemical-spill-on-highway-401-near-kingston-29-patients-treated-at-hospital-including-13-first-responders-who-underwent-decontamination/?preview_id=24370&preview_nonce=d21defb374&preview=true http://cof-cof.ca/2017/03/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. https://www.sudbury.com/local-news/fluoride-in-water-issue-pops-up-at-city-council-574165

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. http://www.bramptonguardian.com/news-story/7195543-peel-anti-fluoride-lobby-spotlights-toxic-cleanup-needed-after-hwy-401-pileup/

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) http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/mass-casualty-response-after-chemical-spill-pile-up-closes-highway-401

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