The debate over fluoride in Windsor's drinking water will be at the forefront Monday when council votes on whether it should be removed from the city’s water supply.

The Windsor-Essex Health Unit presented its position Friday.  It supports fluoride in water to help prevent tooth decay.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Gary Kirk says dental decay is the most widespread chronic disease in childhood. He says municipalities like Leamington that didn't have fluoridated water, saw a higher percentage of cavities.

“It's roughly 24.4 per cent more cavities in the unfluoridated versus fluoridated areas."

Kirk argues the annual cost to fluoridate water costs the city between $125 to 150,000. He says ending it would hit the city with a $2.8 to $11.6 million dollar price tag.

“It's a great return on investment to fluoridate the water - much less costly, much more effective," says Kirk.

Health unit officials say it’s a safe, effective, economical, equitable, and ethical practice, and should be continued.

But many parents don’t believe that.

“Nobody seems to be able to show us any proof and until there's proof, they shouldn't add it to our water, against our will," says Windsor mom Ayesha Drouillard.

Tia-Marie Toutant is against it too. Her son was diagnosed with dental fluorosis at the age of two. It caused his enamel to break down due to a high exposure to fluoride.

“I absolutely believe that it's coming from the water," says Toutant.  “It affects families, it affects the people that live in this community."

The Windsor Utilities Commission board is recommending that council pass a bylaw to cease the fluoridation of the city’s water supply.

Monday’s meeting is expected to be a lengthy debate, with many arguments for and against the issue. The city posted 32 written submissions on the topic on its website Friday.

The city first passed a bylaw to establish a fluoridation system in 1961, after the province enacted the Fluoridation Act.  

Amherstburg and Lakeshore councils already voted to remove fluoride from their water systems.   The Union Water System, which covers drinking water in Leamington, Kingsville, Essex and part of Lakeshore, does not use fluoride.