Sarnia looking to put water fluoridation on the next ballot

Journal Staff

Sarnians will get another kick at the fluoride can when a public meeting is held on Monday, Feb. 26.

The meeting is a necessary step for council to put the question on October’s municipal election ballot.

Mayor Mike Bradley, who has long argued fluoridation is a question best put to the people, raised the issue last week.

The 5 p.m. public meeting at City Hall and an enabling bylaw are both required under the Municipal Elections Act. The deadline to add questions to the ballot is March 1.

If approved, residents would be asked if they are in favour of removing fluoride from municipal drinking water.

Though the results would give the next city council direction they would be non-binding.

Council has wrestled with the divisive issue for two years, with residents arguing strongly for and against fluoride, which is used to reduce tooth decay.

The city has organizing public meetings and heard presentations from health professionals who offered conflicting evidence on the risks and value of the additive.

A 1971 plebiscite led to Sarnia to add fluoride to the drinking water. Council narrowly voted to remove it in 2013.

But the chemical still comes out of the tap because most municipalities drawing water from the Lambton Area Water Supply System support its use.