Petition circulates to stop water fluoridation on West Island, experts say no cause for concern

Click to play video: 'Pointe-Claire petition aims to remove fluoride from drinking water'
Pointe-Claire petition aims to remove fluoride from drinking water
WATCH: A Pointe-Claire resident wants fluoride to be removed from his drinking water. He's gathered over 1,000 signatures in support in a petition he's handed over to the city. But as Global’s Felicia Parrillo reports, other argue fluoride is a good thing and should stick around – Jan 4, 2021

After going door to door with a petition for a few months, Ray Coelho said he gathered over 1,000 signatures.

His goal is to get the city of Montreal, which operates the Pointe-Claire water production plant, to stop adding fluoride to the drinking water.

“Eighty to 85 per cent of people I approached signed the petition,” he said. “We live in a democratic society so I think that alone should move the city of Montreal to stop adding fluoride to the water.”

The Pointe-Claire water plant, located on Lakeshore Dr., supplies drinking water for residents of Pointe-Claire, but also those in Kirkland, Beaconsfield, parts of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Baie-d’Urfé and Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

The city of Dorval also adds fluoride to its water, but they have their own, separate water plant.

Both plants add 0.7 miligrams per litre of fluoride to the water.

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READ MORE: Water filtration plants servicing Dorval, Lachine to close

Coelho argues that there are studies that tie fluoridation of water to lower IQs among children, and other health problems.

He said he simply wants to be given the freedom of choice..

“People should have the right to choose whether they want that or not,” he said. “You can get it (fluoride) from your toothpaste and you can buy your toothpaste from the dollar store.”

But according to Dr. Michael Wisemen, associate professor with the McGill faculty of dentistry, theories of lower IQs and other health issues have been debunked.

He said in safe levels, fluoride isn’t a cause for concern and even recommended.

READ MORE: Nearly half of Montreal West tap water tests exceeded recommended lead limit in 2018

“That’s been endorsed by the CDC — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — in the United States, National Health, the Canadian Dental Association, the Order of Dentists, amongst many other organizations, which clearly show that fluoride is a safe additive to water and help prevents dental cavities,” he said.

At the moment, the Pointe-Claire and Dorval plants are the only ones to add fluoride on the island of Montreal.

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The latest figures available show that three per cent of all Quebecers have access to fluoridated water — a number that some, like Montreal city councillor Marvin Rotrand, argue isn’t enough.

“Sixty five per cent of people who live in Ontario live in communities with fluoridated water,” he said.  “Fluoride is supported by most public health authorities as an effective way to fight tooth decay.”

Global News reached out to the city of Montreal for comment, but no one got back to us before our deadline.

Meanwhile, Coelho is hoping that his petition won’t stay stagnant and will bring about some change.

He said it’s been in the city’s hands since late last year.

Click to play video: 'Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante on lead in the city’s water'
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante on lead in the city’s water

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