Jan 11, 2022

Parts of Windsor-Essex, Canada, to Reintroduce Fluoride in Drinking Water Systems

WECHU CEO Nicole Dupuis said the health unit has been an advocate for returning fluoride to the water system. 

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Parts of Windsor-Essex, Canada, will have fluoride added back into drinking water systems Jan. 12 after years without it. 

Residents in Windsor, Tecumseh and LaSalle will have fluoride flowing into their water systems for the first time since 2013, reported CBC News

During a media briefing, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's (WECHU) acting medical officer of health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai said this is a positive step. 

"As a public health intervention, fluoridation of water is a good thing," said Nesathurai, reported CBC News. "Having better dental health is good for the community overall — it's particularly good for people of more disadvantaged social backgrounds."

Fluoride was previously in the water in Windsor for decades but city councillors voted to discontinue its use.

The council reversed that decision in 2018 and Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens was one of three council members who were against bringing fluoride back, reported CBC News. 

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The reintroduction was expected to happen in November 2020, but an assessment held it back by a year and in 2021 was further delayed due to COVID-19. 

WECHU CEO Nicole Dupuis said the health unit has been an advocate for returning fluoride to the water system. 

"We know in Windsor-Essex, that our oral health disease and issues related to oral health are significant here and much worse than the province," Dupuis said. 

According to the latest oral health report from WECHU, the percentage of children with dental decay and/or requiring urgent care in 2016 and 2017 increased by 51% compared to 2011 and 2012. 

This decision comes after a treatability assessment, a review of fluoride additives, and a study using the Windsor Utilities Commission's pipe test loop.

The installation of the infrastructure and the steps taken prior to reintroducing the fluoride falls within the $850,000 budget for the project. Then, the system will cost about $150,000 annually.  

ENWIN will continue to monitor the pipe loop after the implementation.

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