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Anti-fluoride university prof lobbies council to abandon practice

Published on April 11, 2016
Dr. Paul Connett speaks before city council Monday night.

CORNWALL, Ontario – An American university professor with a deep background in toxicology lobbied hard at city hall Monday night against the return of fluoridation to Cornwall water.

Dr. Paul Connett, who taught for 30 years at St. Lawrence University in nearby Canton, N.Y. and wrote a book against the practice of water fluoridation, told councillors they would be harming the general public by adding the substance to the municipal supply.

"You can’t control who it goes to. It goes to babies, to sick people, people with poor nutrition…and it violates the individual's right to informed consent to medication," he said. "What you're contemplating is what a council can do to everyone, what a doctor can’t do to an individual."

"It works on the outside of the tooth, not from inside the body. It does not help the tooth by swallowing it."

The council chambers at city hall were jammed with individuals to hear the first of two perspectives on the fluoride issue in Cornwall. Proponents of the practice, which was suspended three years ago because of safety concerns at the water treatment plant in Cornwall, will speaks later this month and lobby council to return to fluoride use.

Connett was vehement in his opposition to the plan and used graphic images of rotten teeth as "propoganda" and suggested proponents have exploited the fears of parents and caregivers who might consider supporting fluoridation.

Hydrofluorosilicic acid has been added to our drinking water in the past to create fluoride which advocates suggest promotes dental health. Opponents say the corrosive material is dangerous to workers and is detrimental to health over time.

Connett cited stidy after study that suggest lower IQs are prevalent in countries that fluoridate water, and a Government of Canada report that suggested 41 per cent of young teen children suffered moderate to severe dental fluorosis - a mottling of the tooth enamel.

"What have you got in your plan that allows you to say 'Well, we'll take a chance here,'" he said in attacking proponents of the practice. "Fluoride is extremely toxic."

But Coun. Andre Rivette, who is also a member of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit board, was having none of Connett's assertions.

"The way it sounds…it sounds like we're having genocide on our people here by using this," he said. "I take exception to someone coming into Canada and knocking down our health system.

"We've got the best system. The states would love to have our health system.

"I think it's a little insulting."

Coun. Claude McIntosh wanted to know if drinking fluoridated water in excess every day would be detrimental over time.

"If I drank one glass of water a day…or I drank eight as the health experts tell me to…as far as your concerned that is worse?" he asked.

"Absolutely," responded Connett. "It's the dose. And some people drink a huge amount of water."

Mayor Leslie O'Shaughnessy said council is caught in the middle of a passionate fight.

"It is not a good situation we are in. There will be no winners," he said, adding he'd like to see the province make a decision on the matter.