COLUMN: No to fluoride

MORRISBURG — There was a wooden tray with paper cups that would arrive in our class about once a month or so. The sight of that tray would release groans from the entire class. Not again. We all would have to take a cup of this vile pink liquid, swish in our mouths and then spit back into the cup. Don’t swallow it. Never swallow it, or you’ll have to see a doctor we were warned. Luckily this ritual is no longer repeated in schools; instead having fluoride installed in water treatment plants. Except for Cornwall where the equipment broke down and was removed three years ago. Since then council has debated spending the $300,000-plus on replacing the equipment. It is time for council to finally get off their butts and make a decision, a decision to say no.

Forget the tin-foil hat crowd’s arguments of chemicals in the water, health effects, etc.. Also forget the Montreal-based Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s arguments of the health benefits for a moment. It is about dollars, sense and choice. The unit was likely malfunctioning before it gave up the ghost, so it is fair to say Fluoride has been out of the Cornwall water system for over three years. Has anyone complained about needing more dental work than before fluoride was out of the water system? According to the dentist this columnist asked, no. There has been no increase or decrease in dental work required. Does it make sense for the city to pay $300,000-plus to replace equipment that no one is missing? No.

Think about this, how many people drink tap water anymore? More and more people buy bottled water, or have water coolers in their homes. Not everyone does, but a bottle of water from a case appears to be more convenient for people than turning on a tap. That leaves tap water for bathing, washing the dishes, laundry, cleaning the house, and cooking with. Only one of those tasks involve consuming the water. Does it make good common sense to spend this money when the equipment is not needed?

There is also the matter of choice. As responsible people, it should be our choice how we look after our own dental needs. Brush once, twice, three-times-a-day. Dental checkups once a year, or twice. That is our choice. Government agencies and groups do not have the right to dictate to us how we choose to care for ourselves. It is called personal-responsibility for a reason. If you choose to not look after your teeth, you are responsible for dealing with the issues that arise from it, and paying for the cost when you want it fixed. Period. A government agency, group, or the government itself should not have the power, right or ability to tell you how to care for yourself.

Cornwall city council has dithered about this issue for three years, across two terms of council. They have studied the issue, heard from the “experts” and still no action on this. It is time for council to make a decision, one that accounts for the budget and needs of the community. Cornwall has gone over three years without having fluoride in the water, and the city hasn’t fallen apart. It is a needless expense; it does not make sense to spend the money; and people can (and should) be responsible for their own health decisions.

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