Council agrees to keep Amherstburg fluoride free


By Karen Fallon

Council voted in favour of a moratorium on new water fluoridation equipment and to cease the addition of hydrofluorosilicic acid – fluoride –  into the town’s water supply, on Monday.

Also requested was that correspondence be sent to Health Canada and the Ministry of Labour and the Environment asking for evidence that the town’s employees are not put in harms way by the chemical, as required by the Ontario Health and Safety Act, 1990.

The motion was put into effect by councilor Carolyn Davies who championed the argument against fluoridation of the town’s water supply.

Several speakers also took to the floor during the council meeting to extoll the benefits of removing fluoride from the community water system.

Kimberly DeYong, with Fluoride Free Windsor, says in the last 15 month 13 Canadian municipalities have stopped adding fluoride to their drinking water.

In Essex County there was only Amherstburg along with LaSalle and Tecumseh fluorinating its water. The latter two are served by the City of Windsor water system.

However, noted Lou Zarlenga, director of engineering and infrastructure, the town suspended fluorination of its water supply last April, until repairs could be made to the system and the method of supplying the chemical examined.

The resulting report from the consulting engineers would be coming to council at the next meeting, pointed out Zarlenga.

“That report is to see how much it will cost us to put in equipment to carry on, it isn’t about whether it is safe or not,” said Davies. “I think if we make the decision whether or not we want fluoridation we don’t have to worry whether we are going to pay $100,000 or $150,000 to have it installed because it will be a moot point.

Also on hand to speak on the issue was Heather Gingerich, who is recognized as an expert in North America by the United Nations, and author of the Fluoride Toxicity chapter in the United Nation’s publication put out in the International Year of the Earth 2010.

Gingerich, Director of the Canadian Chapter of the International Medical Geology Association, spoke about the toxicity to infants and children from too much fluoride.

The chemical is also said to be present in: domestic and agricultural phosphates, road and domestic salts, personal products, cleaners and solvents, pesticide and pharmaceuticals, atmospheric fallout and natural and domestic discharge of ground water.

The type of fluoride added previously to Amherstburg’s water supply was hydrofluorosilicic acid, a bi-product from the phosphate fertilizer industries.

“The Hazardous Waste Act does not permit the disposal of hydrofluorosilicic acid into our environment,” said DeYoung. “By putting this product into our municipal water supply dilution has become the solution for industries’ pollution problems.”

Naturally occurring Calcium Fluoride can be held with bare hands, says DeYoung, whereas hydrofluorosilicic acid is a “man-made waste product, which is so toxic that it will eat through glass and concrete and it is so corrosive that workers handling it must wear special protective equipment.”

“It would cost industry about $7,000 a tonne to properly dispose of hydrofluorosilicic acid and yet, municipalities pay approximately $1,000 per tonne to add it to drinking water,” she added.

In 2013 an addition to the Safe Drinking Water Act, “The Statutory standard of Care,” will put an “unprecedented” duty of care on municipal council members, says DeYoung.

Because of the legal implications and health effects council should permanently cease fluoridation until it can be shown with toxicological evidence and clinical trials that it is safe, she continued.

Local residents Pat Andrews, Lorene Clayton and Christine Moody also agreed that the town should stop fluoridation.

“I would like to be confident that the water I am drinking is just  water,” said Clayton.

A month ago the local Medical Officer of Health Dr Allen Heimann, and Essex County Dental Society representative Dr. Charles Frank, spoke on the benefits of fluoridation in community drinking water to council.


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