City staff will take a look at slightly reducing the amount of fluoride in London’s water supply, as suggested by Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis in Tuesday’s civic works committee meeting.
His motion, which will investigate reducing the levels of fluoride from 0.7 parts per million — the recommendation by Health Canada — to 0.6 parts per million, came on the heels of a series of presentations about its benefits and perceived dangers.
“Water fluoridation is considered one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century, along with vaccinations and seat belts,” said the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Chris Mackie.
“The claims of health risks are not supported by science,” he said.
Kallie Miller, of Safe Water London, argues fluoride is a “toxic waste product,” and there are no studies that establish it’s safety and efficacy.
Mackie said the Middlesex-London Health Unit verified 57 organizations across North America on Tuesday that support the process, including the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Dental Association, and the Canadian Public Health Association.
“Public Health Ontario did a review of the fluoride literature on the safety and effectiveness last year, and they found again, water fluoridation helps children’s teeth in this day and age. Even when toothpaste is widely used.”
The conversation, which led to Lewis’s motion passing 4-2, included a demonstration involving cinnamon hearts to show how there’s much higher levels of fluoride in toothpaste than in drinking water and an eyebrow-raising comment about Bill Cosby, both from Ward 1 Coun. Michael Van Holst.
“I have a fear that fluoridation is going to turn out to be the Bill Cosby of water treatment processes, because it’s something we thought was irreproachable but maybe behind the scenes it’s doing great harm,” he said.
Lewis argues the rationale for lowering the level of fluoride by 0.1 part shows respect for people concerned about the level of exposure they’re currently getting from the city’s water supply. His motion was supported by Van Holst, Elizabeth Peloza, and Phil Squire. Mayor Ed Holder and Steven Lehman voted against it.