Could Fluoride From Alcoa be Behind Cornwall’s High Cancer Rate? Letter to the Editor from Harry Valentine

In recent weeks, the local Cornwall media has carried several news items that relate to cancer. In 1995, Health Canada released a study that indicated that Cornwall had a higher rate of cancer that industrial cities such as Hamilton, Windsor and Sarnia. A story very recently came to public attention courtesy of a cancer researcher who suggesed a possible link between fluoride and cancer. Readers may access that story via the video link at webpage:
In light of that suggestion, the question emerges as to whether the Cornwall area may have been exposed to excess fluoride. According to the Director of the Environment for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Dr Henry Lickers, Cornwall Island was indeed exposed to excess fluoride in both the air and in the water. The fluoride contaminated the pasture on which cattle were grazing as well as vegetable plants across the Mohawk community. Dr Lickers presents this case in the video presentations at:

Henry Lickers talks about Cornwall Island and Lenart Krook from Doug Cragoe on Vimeo.

Dr Lickers mentions the name of Dr Shirley Connibear who undertook a comprehensive study on fluoride pollution on Cornwall Island during 1978. Her study revealed that during 1968, the Reynolds Aluminun plant that is located north of Massena on the St Lawrence River (Lake St Lawrence), emitted some 317-lbs of fluoride into the atmosphere per hour, or 3.8-tons of it per day. Both Cornwall Island and the southern area of the City of Cornwall are downwind of the Reynolds plant. As well on windless days, much of that fluoride would have settled on to Lake St Lawrence, flowed through the power dam and straight into the intake for Cornwall’s water supply.
The Alcoa Plant located SE of Cornwall Island also emitted large quantities of fluoride, see
While Reynolds and Alcoa were pumping fluoride into the atmosphere, a health care program was underway in Cornwall public schools from the late 1960’s until the early 1980’s. A liquid fluoride mouth rinse was administered to school children in their classrooms, with the teacher and a nurse in attendance. The children had to rinse their mouths for a specified period of time before spitting out, several times during the school year.
People who were children at the time recall the intensely strong and burning taste of the liquid that resulted in several kindergarten level children actually crying in class. A few kids had an attack of nausea after having taken a mouthful of the liquid, while other kids apparently swallowed the liquid. While Dr Connibear undertook the fluoride study on Cornwall Island, an earlier Cornwall administration elected to add fluoride to Cornwall’s municipal water to reduce cavities in the teeth of children ages 5 to 17-years. Except that given total municipal water usage, the 5 to 17-year olds only consume between 2% and 5% of the municipal water.
Except that at the present day, the Province of Quebec is 97.6 free from fluoride as is Western Europe see  and without any mass outbreaks or  epidemics of tooth cavities in children. While a cancer researcher suggests a link between fluoride and cancer, other fluoride related maladies include thyroid problems, kidney problems, arthritis, diabetes, obesity among other maladies. Many older residents of Cornwall Island and even from the City of Cornwall who were children during the 1960’s and 1970’s, are believed to suffer from fluoride-related maladies.
Cornwall residents may wish to post comments about their experiences with cancer and with the school fluoride mouth rinse program. Despite the area’s history with fluoride, we may expect Cornwall’s medical health officer to oppose any attempt to remove fluoride from Cornwall’s municipal water.
(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)
Start Communications


  1. Harry, talk to older workers from Courtaulds and Domtar and you’ll hear stories about really bad chemical emissions into the river from those plants. And city parks manager Stephen Alexander says a beach in Lamoureux Park is a no-no as it would stir up contaminants from the river bottom.
    Why don’t you worry about Cornwall-based pollution problems first, including the Big Ben chemical/contaminated soil dump which will soon be next to two outdoor soccer fields?

  2. Fluoride reduces your IQ so no point in this conversation!

    It is a pollutant from metal foundry manufacturing..

    Show me the proof that it makes you healthier????

    There is none.. The families that owned the steel manufactures just
    didn’t want to pay out lawsuit so feed it to the people then you can’t say where it came from so all New-Yorkers were fed it.

    Lets all just keep jumping into the meat grinder because we were told to by someone in the past. It’s abuse pure and simple….

  3. Dom TAR are owners 7th & cumberland site & either own big ben or have the Licence to Legally operate it as a Dump . It’s a no brainer to move contaminated material as they are doing from 7th & cumberland to Big ben . The city is aware of the problem but there hands are tied . Dom Tar clearly are not being responsible . It also seems very clear that Fluoride from Reynolds & Alcoa have done extensive damage to the enviroment especially on Cornwall Island . Was not a settlement reached on that issue ?

  4. I remember the lil cups of pink fluoride they brought us in class back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It taste aweful, and we were forced to take it.

  5. It’s a crying shame that the City of Cornwall continues to mass medicate 100% of it’s residents when much less that 17% can benefit from a doubtful outcome at best. Over 55 municipalities across Canada have quit this ill conceived practice of prevented it’s implementation since 1990, 20 of them since May 4, 2010; see Even the CDC and the ADA have now admitted that the best benefit to teeth one can expect from fluoride is by topical application, not by systemic effect. So swallowing fluoride with water is like swallowing sun tan lotion to try to prevent tooth decay. Both are reckless, harmful and don’t work.

    Claims of tooth decay reduction are based on fraudulent data developed in the 1940’s for industrialists to
    1) deflect lawsuits about the serious harmful effects of fluoride emissions into their factories and the environment,
    2) turn a profit from the disposal of their highly hazardous industrial fluoride toxic waste.

    The following recent books are a testimony to that deception:
    Dr. John Yiamouyiannis’ “Fluoride The Aging Factor
    Christopher Bryson “The Fluoride Deception
    Morin, Graham & Parent “Fluoridation: Autopsy of a Scientific Error
    Dr.’s Connett, Beck & Micklem “The Case Against Fluoride
    and a must read, “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards” – National Research Council, U.S.A.

    See also the valuable research web site Second Look, at exposing the 100’s of papers, research, studies, abstracts and articles on both sides of the fluoride problem.

  6. Hi Jason,

    I’ve spoken to several people about the little cups of fluoride that were distributed in the classrooms. One retired teacher tried it once and described the pungent taste. It appears that the rinses may have been more frequent in certain public board schools than Catholic schools.

    Several former students advised of fluctuating thyroid activity that included over-active or under-active after several years of school fluoride rinses. A Dr Wendy Luke from the UK advised of fluoride accumulating in the pineal gland at the top of the spinal cord at the back of the neck, near the thyroid. One lady who did the frequent fluoride rinse as a school girl, developed a tumour at the base of her brain, near the pineal gland.

    A few other people who also did multiple fluoride rinses in class, reported of health problems with their thyroids, kidneys, ovaries, throat, gums, bladders, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and urinary tracts. I heard a few reports of recurring occurrences of spasms and seizures involving jaw muscles.

    Cornwall is about the width of a school football field from Cornwall Island, where Mohawk residents experiences a variety of fluoride related health issues that included arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity as well as health problems related to the kidneys, urinary tract, bladder, prostates and ovaries.

    I’ve so far only interviewed a small number of people who live in Cornwall, in regard to the fluoride mouth rinse program. I am unable to provide an accurate percentage of the total number of people who did the school fluoride rinse as children and who experience fluoride related health issues as adults.

    Perhaps more people who did the school fluoride rinse as children and who experience fluoride related health issues today as adults, may wish to comment and tell their stories in this section.

  7. With regard to toxic emissions from Domtar and Courtaulds, the intake for Cornwall’s municipal water was located upstream of the water water outlets of both companies. Much of the water effluent from Domtar would have been released into the old Cornwall Canal, including the section that is now buried. So there would be toxic material about 15 to 20-ft underground along the south sides of Water Street and Race Street.

    Water effluent from Courtaulds was released to the east of St Lawrence College and over the years, the heavy material settled on the riverbed along the shore, between the college and the channel to the north of Pilon Island. There is some water current in the channel around the north and eastern side of Pilon Island, where accumulation of industrial water may be minimal.

    The Mohawk Council was able to get Alcoa and GM to clean up the contaminated river floor near their premises.

    The industrial exhaust stacks of Reynolds Aluminum, Domtar and Courtaulds pumped large volumes of gaseous industrial waste into the atmosphere for many years. The southern area of Cornwall located near the river was in the prevailing wind stream of all 3-smoke stacks.

    A large segment of Cornwall’s population who are aged 30-years and older were exposed to the higher levels of industry-based water and air pollution than the children of today. They got quite a dose of industrial fluoride, the school fluoride mouth rinses and fluoride added to the municipal water. And several of them suffer from fluoride related health issues.

  8. Personally, I’m a little sceptical that fluoride is quite as bad as is implied in the article and by some of the commentators. However, I don’t pretend to be an expert in fluoride and its effects, so I may well be wrong.

    The real and most pressing public health concern, however, should be mercury, which is highly toxic in even the most minimal amount. The largest single source of mercury pollution is coal fired power plants (which incidentally also emit far more radiation than any nuclear plant).

    Some twenty years ago, I heard on the CBC that turtle carcases from this area, after being analysed for mercury contamination, had to be disposed of in an official toxic waste dump. I wonder how much mercury there is at Big Ben, and how much of it is leaching into Cornwall’s water supply.

    On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know.

  9. Hi Richard,

    For several years following the construction of hydroelectric power dams, increased levels of mercury has been measured in the water that flows downstream of the dams. While European authorities have banned both fluoride from drinking water as well as mercury from amalgam dental fillings, the North American dental industry still supports and defends both mercury and fluoride.

    In the Cornwall area, we’ve had industries that have dumped liquid waste contaminated with mercury into river over a period of decades. Following the opening of the Moses-Saunders power dam and the subsequent opening of aluminium-based industries near Massena, the Mohawk Akwesasne area had to deal with both mercury and fluoride poisoning. Dental offices, cemeteries near a river and crematoriums have become the single biggest source of mercury pollution . . . the result of decades of mercury-based dental amalgams.

    So you suspect correctly, Richard, when you express concern over mercury pollution in the environment.

  10. Re: Richard Hudon’s comments

    Many thanks for posting your comments. Across the USA, between 19-million and 33-million American are believed to be suffering from fluoride related ailments that involve the thyroid, kidneys, arthritis and other ailments. Out of a population of 330-million people, that is 6% to 10% of the population.

    I was able to contact a former student who attended Central Public School on 2nd Street in Cornwall, during the school fluoride mouth rinse program. Of a sample of a single class of 27-students who remained peers for a few years, there are a suspected 9 to 14 cases of ailments that include problems of the thyroid, kidneys, urinary tract, throat, problems with jaw muscles. Of this very tiny sample, we are looking at 33% to 50% of a population sample.

    This sample is as tiny as the sample that opened the door to adding fluoride to municipal drinking water. There are regions of the world where calcium fluoride (CaF) occurs naturally in the earth and in the ground water. While totally disregarding factors such as diet and native dental care, the pro-fluoride people claimed that fluoride allegedly protected people’s teeth from cavities.

    What we’ve had in the Cornwall and Akwesasne are, is the sodium fluoride (NaF) by-product of the aluminum smelting process having been dumped into the environment, along with gaseous fluoride emissions up the smoke stacks. Except that in the Cornwall and Akwesasne areas, we have a segment of the population who experience health issues that involve the thyroid, kidneys, diabetes, obesity . . . all related to fluoride.

    During the course of his research, Dr Weston A. Price found non-industrialized regions where local residents ate their traditional diet where sugar was absent . . . . and tooth cavities were non-existent to rare. In countries where sugar cane grows, people who chew the sugar cane end up with eroded teeth. In some African societies, some locals actually do clean their teeth with a mixture of sea salt and ash. DIET and not the presence or absence of natural fluoride had anything to do with dental problems in native communities.

  11. With respect to “Big Ben”…

    I’m certain that most of you have seen the info on Big Ben at

    The page points out that even though the Ministry of the Environment was/is aware of poisonous fluids (i.e. leachate) bubbling up under the land that is occupied by the Benson Centre — and also flowing under the WalMart property, and even into the St. Lawrence — dumping at Big Ben was permitted to increase in volume and expand in contaminants back in 2008.

    And all of that creosote and asbestos contaminated material from Seventh St. and Cumberland St. added since then (and additional contaminants from PARIS Holdings), is even more poisonous than the waste already leaking out of Big Ben.

    And if that isn’t worrisome enough, check out the guilty court record (and it’s only partial) of the company and individuals that are doing the dumping, at

    Only two (count ’em 2) individuals in the whole of the City of Cornwall tried to appeal to the Ontario Ministry of Environment
    to stop the poisoning of our community.

    And the Cornwall City Council of the day gave it their blessing, and today’s council is negligently allowing it to continue.

    This is all part of the public record yet it goes on, and on, and on.

    Perhaps we can move beyond writing letters into the ether… please, please, start lobbying MP’s, MPP’s, councillors, and even your neighbours.

    And maybe start digging up the dirty secrets of the owners, operators, and clients of Big Ben, and expose them to the community… for the health of the community.

  12. Hi Simon,

    While you’ve certainly focused attention on an explosive political bomb of an issue, at least the intake foe Cornwall’s municipal water is located upstream in the canal/river of the old Dominion Tar (Domtar) location. While water run-off from Big Ben may be contaminating ground water, at least it does not make its way into the city’s municipal water supply.

    Cornwall is certainly stuck with much industrial pollution from a bygone time, including the fluoride issue.

    At the present time, the City of Cornwall needs to reduce municipal expenditures by some $600,000 . . . . there is no need to fork out cash to add fluoride to the municipal water when Reynolds has provided much fluoride via atmospheric fluoride emissions. The 5-to17-year old crowd makes up for less than 20% of Cornwall’s population and they consume about 3% of Cornwall’s municipal water usage.

    There are industries, restaurants, laundromats, car washes, gardens, lawns, baths, showers, dishwashers, washing machines and swimming pools all using fluoridated municipal water. There is a waste of around 97%.

    We have a large percentage of first nations people living on Cornwall Island who suffer from known fluoride related illnesses . . . we also have a significant percentage of non-first nations people living in Cornwall suffering from the exact same same illnesses.

    With to the numbers that measuring the alleged effectiveness of fluoride, I cam come across measurements taken in New York State (Kingston – Poughkeepsie areas) where children in non-fluoridated communities had fewer tooth cavities than children living in nearby fluoridating communities . . . . the exact opposite of what the medical officer of health tried to tell us in a pro-fluoride commentary he published in Cornwall during 2011.

    We have many pollution and health related issues to deal with in Cornwall . . . the fluoride issue is one we can deal with locally and will not cost the City of Cornwall much to remove fluoride from the municipal water. Except that whosoever takes up the cause to remove the fluoride, will likely face some opposition from either the medical officer of health or from one of his associates.

  13. Cornwall Daily posted a news item on September 7 re Fluoride, quoting the medical officer of health who claimed that “fluoride is safe”. However, there is recent evidence from Harvard Medical School that says otherwise . . . . either Cornwall’s medical offer of health is unaware of the recent study by Harvard Medical School, or his quote at Cornwall Daily is based on outdated information of long ago.

    What we have here could classify as a case of paternalistic behaviour, that is, “doctor knows best” . . . even when his medical information in regard to fluoride may be out of date. The link at the beginning of this article at Cornwall Free News brings up information re the Harvard study re fluoride . . . it appeared before the medical offer of health was quoted at Cornwall Daily News claiming that fluoride was safe.

  14. I’ve received word that FLUORIDE FREE CORNWALL will be making a presentation before Cornwall City Council this evening, September 10th, 2012.

    We live in a democracy that respects the rights of citizens, not a totalitarian dictatorship that treats its citizens with contempt. The practice of forcibly medicating an entire community of citizens with any kind of medication, represents an abuse of the powers of the state. Fluoride is being forced on to the citizens through the municipal water distribution system.

    Its is a disgrace when private citizens are able to access credible information from reputable sources, that suggest that fluoride can harm citizens, make the information available through the news media (Cornwall Free News) . . . . then have a medical officer of health being quoted in the news media (Cornwall Daily News) claiming that fluoride is safe in a community that is downwind from an industrial smokestack that for several decades, released gaseous fluoride into the atmosphere.

    Lets hear the medical officer of health comment on the suggestion that gaseous fluoride emissions adversely affected the health of the citizens of Cornwall Island, just across the river from Cornwall. Can the medical officer prove that none of the gaseous fluoride emissions ever settled on Cornwall, despite the city being downwind of a smokestack that belched out fluoride emissions, and that no Cornwall citizen’s health was ever adversely affected by those emissions.

    On the evening of September 10, 2012, Cornwall City Council gets the chance to decide the future of fluoride in Cornwall’s municipal water distribution system.


    I am providing some numbers that suggest that 99% of fluoridated water is going down the drain:

    A typical 5 to 17-year old may use and flush the toilet 3-times per day (probably more). The toilet tank holds 8-gallons or 36-litres of water, with 3-flushes accounting for over 100-litres of water. Their shower and washing may account for another gallon (4.5-litres) or more of water. The kid may drink some 4-litres of water per day, that is, less than 4% of their total daily water usage.

    The 5 to 17-years old account for less than 20% of the population and 4% x 20% = 0.8% of total water consumption by the population. This excludes water being used by industry and businesses.

    So I suggest that 99.2% of fluoridated municipal water is quite literally going down the toilet . . . the City of Cornwall is paying several $-thousand per year on fluoride that is going down the toilet . . . and the City of Cornwall needs to cut $600,000 from municipal expenses.

    On the evening of September 10th, 2012, the City Council of Cornwall will hear a presentation that pertains to 0.8% of total municipal water consumption . . . . for which the City of Cornwall is paying several $-thousand per year.

    Somebody evidently pulled off one hell of a con-job on the City of Cornwall many years ago, to spend $-thousands per year for 0.8% of municipal water usage.

Leave a Reply