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Tecumseh votes in favour of fluoridation

by Kyle Reid

Fluoride will now be added to the drinking water in Windsor, Tecumseh, LaSalle, and a small part of Lakeshore, after Tecumseh Town Council voted in favour of re-introducing the chemical to their water supply last week.

Last year, Windsor City Council had approved doing so during a December meeting. However, the city shares water supplies with Tecumseh and LaSalle, and required the approval of one of two of the municipalities to officially make the change.

The Town of LaSalle, now, won’t get a vote as the majority of the three municipalities that share the water supply have approved the decision.

The process to approve the reintroduction of fluoride to the water supply was rather lengthy. Tecumseh was set to vote on the issue in February, but had to defer any decision until a legal opinion could be reached regarding whether they could make the decision for other municipalities.

With the red tape cleared, Tecumseh Council made its official decision during the Tuesday, April 9 regular meeting. Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara said findings from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, which claimed a 51 percent increase in children’s cavities over the five years since fluoride was removed from the water, was a significant factor in his and council’s decision.

“Science should be the moving factor, peer review by experts,” McNamara said, who is also the Chairperson of the Health Unit. “Looking at all of the information, talking to residents, and [the] mail, e-mails — it has not changed my mind.”

There was a significant amount of public interest in the fluoride decision. A January public meeting had 27 delegates weigh in, both for and against the topic. McNamara said Council reviewed an extensive number of opinions of residents and health professionals before making their decision. In total, nearly 1,600 pages of documents, e-mails, and reports needed to be reviewed by Council and staff.

“I’m proud of how Council did their homework on this and based their decision on good science,” McNamara said.

However, with the decision made official, it could still be some time before fluoride is reintroduced to the water supply of the three municipalities. McNamara said the process is expected to take anywhere from a year to 18-months before Fluoride is re-introduced, and there is still the potential for legal challenges to the decision.

In the end, however, McNamara said he is sticking behind the decision.

“It’s the right thing to do,” McNamara said.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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