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Richmond’s Citizens Vote to End Water Fluoridation
Richmond, October 19, 2014. It was today that Richmond held its public consultation on water fluoridation. This was a historic event as it was the first public consultation or referendum where the population was asked to vote and they rejected fluoridation. This outcome is a result of the tireless work over a 2½ year period by a group of citizens, primarily young mothers concerned with their family’s health.
They first succeeded by getting a parliamentary commission on the issue back in April 2013. Even though the conclusions from this commission were in fluoridation’s favor, the commissioners did insist that social acceptability was necessary before proceeding with the installation of fluoridation systems and did not want to make fluoridation mandatory throughout Québec like the Public Health Agency wanted. They left the choice to fluoridate or not to each individual municipality.
The fact that Richmond’s citizens rejected fluoridation at 76%, despite the fact that they will have to reimburse a $127 000 penalty, clearly shows that there is a lack of social acceptability when people are well informed by those promoting as well as those opposing water fluoridation. We would like to thank the local media who were interested in this issue and allowed both sides to be equally represented.
The government will have to take note of the lack of social acceptability found in this public health measure. More and more citizen groups opposed to fluoridation are emerging in Québec, Canada and across the world, challenging the fluoridation dogma.
This is an ideal occasion for the government, who is searching for ways to reduce its spending, to cut this program which is evaluated at some $4 million. This is a lot of money spent on fluoridating only 3% of the population’s water. When we know that we only drink 1% of this water, the expense does not seem justified, especially since the remaining 99% is thrown back into our aquatic environment which is very sensitive to this contaminant.
The Citizens for Healthy Water in Richmond committee would like to thank the Réseau sans fluor, the Coalition Eau Secours, the Front commun pour une eau saine, the CREE, the Amis de la terre du Val-Saint-François as well as all the other citizen groups who are working hard to stop water fluoridation in their communities. The committee wholeheartedly thanks all the citizens who helped get the word out and went to vote; democracy has spoken. They also wish to recognize the openness of the municipal council who organized this exercise in democracy that contrasts the methods used by the Public Health Agency to introduce fluoridation in Québec’s municipalities.
This conclusion clearly shows that when citizens decide to get involved, it is possible to have a positive impact and see real change happen.