Sarnia council to be asked to include question in upcoming vote

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley plans to re-ignite the fluoride debate.

He notified city council that he will present a motion later this month to have a non-binding referendum about fluoride included on the civic-election ballot -writes

Bradley promised the move last year when the question of including fluoride in water to help prevent tooth decay came up again for a vote at city council.

The results of a public vote wouldn’t be binding on the next city council, but would give councillors “a snapshot of public opinion if the issue is raised during the 2018-2022 term,” Bradley said.

The motion is expected to be considered when council meets Feb. 26, Bradley said.

The deadline for getting questions on the Oct. 22 election ballot is the end of February.

One complication is that Sarnia’s drinking water comes from the Lambton Area Water Supply, an agency owned by the municipalities of Sarnia, Point Edward, Plympton-Wyoming, St. Clair Township, Warwick Township and Lambton Shores.

A majority of the owners would have to agree if the current policy of adding fluoride were to be changed. “I know it will come back up again,” Bradley said.

“This way, the new council would know in general terms where the public stood on the issue.”

Sarnia and London are among many Canadian cities that add fluoride to water to prevent cavities. But several cities, including Calgary, Waterloo and Windsor, have taken it out.

Opponents of fluoridation claim the additive causes heart disease, cancer, birth defects, and spontaneous abortions, but scientists say studies do not back up their claims.

London council debated the use of fluoride in drinking water in 2012. Former councillor Stephen Orser unsuccessfully pushed to add a referendum question on the 2014 civic election ballot.

In Sarnia, a plebiscite in 1971 led to the decision to begin adding fluoride to the system.

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