© Can Stock Photo / AndreyPopov© Can Stock Photo / AndreyPopov

LaSalle, Tecumseh Mayors split on reintroducing fluoride

Now that Windsor City Council has voted in favour of reintroducing fluoride to the public drinking water supply, its neighbouring municipalities will have to have the same debate.

Either Tecumseh or LaSalle town council has to vote in favour of it too before fluoride can be added back into the water supply. Reinstituting it is expected to take between 12 and 18 months.

In Tecumseh, Mayor Gary McNamara said he hopes to have a discussion about it soon. He admitted it could possibly be added to the council agenda as early as next month.

Five years ago, Tecumseh voted in line with Windsor to remove fluoride. McNamara said he hopes town council will vote in line with Windsor again. This time, to bring it back.

"The science behind it has been very well researched and peer-reviewed," McNamara, who is the chair of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit commented. "Two or three of the councillors eluded to, with the City of Windsor, this being a social justice issue. I firmly believe that."

The latest study by the health unit showed a 51 per cent increase in cavities among children in Windsor since council voted five years ago to remove fluoride. It also said Windsor had the highest rate of residents who did not have access to dental care.

McNamara said much has changed on Tecumseh Town Council since the original debate in 2013.

"Since then, we've had four new councillors that were not part of that discussion five years ago. I'm hoping with the evidence; they support our colleagues at the City of Windsor," he said.

LaSalle's new mayor, Marc Bondy, has a very different take on the issue. He said he also believes it is a social justice issue, of another kind.

"I'd rather have a choice," he said.

Bondy is not convinced by the science and believed the jury is still out on fluoride's effectiveness as an overall health benefit.

Many of those who oppose fluoridating the drinking supply cite fears of a cancer risk or discoloured teeth.

"I know when we had the debate four or five years ago, I probably received an equal amount for and against the fluoride," said Bondy.

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