BlackburnNews.com File Photo. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Windsor City Council may reintroduce fluoride to water supply

If an informal poll is any indication, Windsor City Council will vote Monday night to reintroduce fluoride into the drinking water supply.

BlackburnNews.com called or emailed all ten councillors Monday to find out what direction they are leaning; reintroduce fluoride five years after the council voted to remove it, or put it back in.

Six responded they would likely vote to reintroduce it. Four other councillors had not responded by publication.

Windsor City Councillor Joanne Gignac. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Windsor City Councillor Joanne Gignac. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

In 2013, Ward 6 Councillor Joanne Gignac was one of only three on council who voted against removing fluoride.

“I’ve kept a close eye on all the articles, all of the data, all of the medical research since then, and while I’ll listen to hear if there is anything new being incorporated into the discussion tonight, I would have to say I’m leaning towards reincorporating it,” she said.

The only other two councillors to vote against removing it in 2013 were Ward 3’s Fulvio Valentinis and Hilary Payne in Ward 9.

Even though the decision to remove it was made before he was elected to the council, Chris Holt in Ward 4 believed the debate never really went away.

Ward 4 Councillor Chris Holt at the new Windsor City Hall, June 4, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

“I’m fairly well versed,” he said. “[But] I’m an auto worker… I’ve never gone to medical school. So, I have to lean on the opinions of the medical professionals that have been contacting me.”

One of the most recent reports from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit shows tooth decay has increased, visits to emergency departments related to oral health cost the region $508,259, and a majority of residents support water fluoridation.

A report released last week shows that a quarter of residents do not have access to regular dental care.

Groups including the Essex County Dental Society, Ontario Oral Health Alliance, United Way Windsor-Essex, Canadian Association of Public Health Dentistry, Windsor-Essex Community Foundation, and the St. Leonard’s Society all express support for bringing fluoride back.

However, there is still also a great deal of opposition to reintroducing fluoride. Those against it argue it is unnecessary, can cause other health problems including lowered I.Q. and bone cancer, and should be left up to individuals to decide whether to ingest it.

In a bid to answer some of those concerns, and dispel some of the myths, President of the American Fluoridation Society Dr. Johnny Johnson will speak to council.

“The American Fluoridation Society is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to look into the science and the anti-science that is out there,” said acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed. “Their whole agency is committed to make sure the scientific community is well aware and has the right scientific evidence to support the claim about the effectiveness of fluoride.”

Monday night’s debate is expected to be a long one. An addendum to the agenda package includes 59 emails expressing both support and opposition to reintroducing fluoride into the water supply, and 16 delegates are scheduled to speak.