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Town says "No" to fluoride in its water...for now

McDougall Township and the Town of Parry Sound have passed by-laws to end fluoridation of the drinking water.
Water Tap Running
File photo.

The issue surfaced in North Bay recently during budget deliberations when council learned it could save $50,000 by not using fluoride in the drinking water.

However, public backlash, led mostly by the city's dentists, spiked the idea.

Now, a battle is shaping up in Parry Sound where a group of anti-fluoride activists have forced the town to take the chemical out of its water supply.

Effective March 18, the Town of Parry Sound no longer added fluoride to the drinking water system. The change also affects residents in McDougall Township which uses Parry Sound’s municipal water system.

The anti-fluoridation group went out and gathered enough signatures to force the town to hold a plebiscite on the issue.

To save the $20,000 it would cost, the town has agreed to put the question to a vote during the next municipal election.

Council passed a resolution instructing staff to add the following question to the Municipal election ballot in 2018:  Are you in favour of the fluoridation of the public water supply of this municipality?  Under the Fluoridation Act, this is the only question allowed on a municipal ballot.

"My understanding is that both camps will have to register themselves if they want to campaign just like someone running for municipal office," Mayor Jamie McGarvey told BayToday. 

"If we were to have kept the fluoride in the water the way it was, we were going to have to do a $250,000 upgrade to our water treatment plant where the fluoride is stored and put into the water system."

McGarvey says he questioned spending that kind of money if within two years the fluoride was coming out.

"We'll see how the ballot goes and if it's to be kept in then we'll spend the money at that time to upgrade the plant, and if it's out then we're not out $250,000." 

Read about the process here.

A news release from the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit argues for keeping the chemical in the water.

"It is important to note the most current and best available scientific evidence indicates that removal of fluoride from municipal drinking water systems results in more cavities, especially for the most vulnerable in our communities - our children, the elderly, our poor and those with disabilities." 

Read the opposition side: Fluoride quietly disappears from town water supply 


Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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