Tottenham is one of the only municipalities in our area to add fluoride to its drinking water, but that could soon change after a recent decision by local councillors to end the 40 year practice.

“This stuff has lead, arsenic, cadmium, radium,” says Coun. Jim Stone, “like you could glow in the dark if you take in enough of this stuff.”

Stone says western European countries have banned it “and their cavity levels haven't gone up at all.”

Stone says fluoride in the drinking water poses a greater health risk that far outweighs any benefits the chemical might have for teeth.

“The dentist only looks at your teeth. They don't realize it's your whole system that's being poisoned by this stuff,” he says.

Dentist Gerry Ross has been practicing for more than 40 years and was instrumental in getting fluoride added to the drinking water here in 1973. He says if you remove fluoride from the drinking water, his business will increase, which is something he doesn't want to see.

“There's going to be a lot more decay and extractions among the young children in Tottenham,” Ross says.

Ross says he can tell just by looking into his young patients’ mouths who is drinking fluoridated water and who isn't. He points to local studies done that show a lower rate of dental problems in communities that add fluoride to their drinking water.

“The degree of benefit is in the range of 40 per cent reduction in cavities,” says Dr. Charles Gardner, chief medical officer of health with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Gardner says that there is an abundance of information on fluoride, and it's all taken into account by Health Canada.

“The majority of studies will show benefit,” he says.

Cara Berube is a mother who runs a daycare in Tottenham and says although some may not understand the benefits of fluoride in drinking water, she does.

“My son has bad teeth – he has no enamel – so without fluoride I think his teeth may be even worse,” she says.

The final decision on whether to ban fluoride from the municipal drinking water could come as early as this Monday when New Tecumseh council will debate and vote on the issue.