PREVIEW

How both sides will fight Toronto’s fluoridation war

ROBERT THOMAS ALLEN May 5 1962
PREVIEW

How both sides will fight Toronto’s fluoridation war

ROBERT THOMAS ALLEN May 5 1962

How both sides will fight Toronto’s fluoridation war

PREVIEW

The people of Toronto will vote next December on the fluoridation of public drinking water. The showdown will come after a seven-year struggle between Metro Council and the Ontario Government for permissive legislation, and a much longer propaganda battle between such groups as the Health League of Canada (for) and the Citizens’ Rights Association (against), not to mention the Society for the Study of Water, Air and Food Contaminents, and sundry dentists, doctors, chemists, professors and newspaper columnists. The fight generated disputes about falling hair, rat poison and the rights of man. It involved such prominent and not-so-prominent figures as Metro Chairman Fred Gardiner: “The days of the horse and buggy . . . are over”; antifluoridationist Dr. M. B. Dymond, who, when asked if he would drink Brantford’s fluoridated water, neatly sidestepped and said, “I never drink water”; the Rev. Leslie Millin: “Fluoridation is a communist plot”; Premier Frost of Ontario: “We do not know what it will do to the heart, kidneys, lungs and blood pressure”; Dr. Gordon Bates (of Mr. Frost’s statement): "Rubbish!”;

Mrs. Mary Breithaupt, to the Scarborough Board of Health, “If Mr. (Gord-

on) Sinclair would shut his mouth, we would get further.”

Between now and the time of the plebiscite, Dr. Gordon Bates, general director of the Health League of Canada, will rally the pros and George A.

MacMillan, owner of two health food stores and president of the Citizens’ Rights Association, will, he hopes, lead the antifluoridationists on to a righteous victory.

Mr. MacMillan, a slight, bright, brown-eyed man. was wearing a belted blue trench coat and open-web sandals

when I met him. He stood on a cold, windy corner peering into a subway excavation and told me, with the satisfaction of a man who sees all the pieces falling neatly into place, that “the promoters” had sent me to try to fish out what his next important move would be in the campaign.

“They’d like that,” he said. “But we’re not going to telegraph our punches. They'll have a fight of it. We know everything they're doing. We've studied the methods used by other cities to combat fluoridation.”

Mr. MacMillan has strong, handsome teeth, having lost only two, which were removed when he was in his teens and hadn’t heard about proper nutrition. He takes no salt or pepper and swishes his mouth out with water after meals. He said that the profluoridationists were using the same techniques as the communists and it was the thin edge of the wedge.

“Both the medical and dental professions are losing an awful lot of prestige over this.” he said. “It’s our personal opinion that it’s going to finish the Health League.”

Dr. Bates, a harassed looking little man with downy white hair and darkrimmed glasses, operates from the un-

tidy offices of the Health League in an old vine-covered brick house only a few blocks away from one of Mr. MacMillan’s health food stores. Dr. Bates had no objection to stating his strategy or to admitting his problems. He said he’d like to get factual information into the hands of every dentist and school child in the metropolitan Toronto area.

"We’re now conferring with a public relations firm,” he told me. “We feel that we have every radio station in Toronto ready to help us and the medical authorities present the true facts. But we still don’t have adequate financial support. Somebody’s got to show these people up. The campaign against fluoridation is being conducted by a malicious, malignant minority with a strong voice. They have money. We’re only guessing that they get it from the John Birch Society. But we’ll win. We always win in the long run. because we don’t sponsor anything that we don’t believe is right.”

Dr. Bates has had bad luck with his teeth. By the time he was fourteen he had fourteen gold crowns, but points out quickly that he was raised in Hamilton where the water is not fluoridated.

ROBERT THOMAS ALLEN