I would like to begin by thanking the Owen Sound Hub for encouraging the publication of letters discussing the pros and cons of fluoridation.

The question to discontinue fluoridation was confusing and both sides were unhappy with its ambiguity. An analysis of voting in the referenda of 1997 and this year shows that the 'yes' side (anti-fluoridation) gained 14.5 per cent in support from 1997 to 2014. The 'no' side (pro-fluoridation) dropped four per cent in support.

The actual statistics are:

1997 YES 3097 NO 4633

2014 YES 3546 NO 4439

There were 893 votes separating the two sides this year while the difference was 1536 votes in 1997. The 'yes' side gained 449 votes from 1997 and increased our share of the total vote by 449/7985 or 5.6 per cent of the total vote. If we had gained another 450 votes fluoridation would have been discontinued.

Across Canada there is a growing trend to phase out fluoridation. Recent examples of cities stopping fluoridation include Calgary, Windsor and Waterloo. Will the question be on the ballot in four years? Possibly.

As the Sun Times reported, both sides said their information was based on scientific research.

I think Owen Sound needs to continue discussing fluoridation. It is very undemocratic for public health to recommend that future decisions not be voted on locally. Such attempts to impose central authority will undermine the respect of the public towards the vital work of all public health units.

In conclusion, I would urge mothers of new infants to breast-feed to protect their children from fluoride. The Owen Sound water concentration of fluoride is 60-120 times that of breast milk. If unable to breast feed, use deionized water from bottled water or water filtered with reverse osmosis. Do not use fluoridated tap water to prepare infant formula for infants 0-6 months old.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. David M. Ward, MD
Owen Sound