BALLINA Shire Council will tomorrow consider a request from the local branch of the Australian Dental Association to fluoridate the shire’s water supply.
Back in 2006, Ballina Shire Council, along with the Byron Shire Council, rejected a request from NSW Health to add fluoride to the water.
Lismore City and Richmond Valley councils both agreed to fluoridate their water supplies at that time.
However, Australian Dental Association Far North Coast Division president Brendan White has put the issue back on the table, saying in a letter, based on NSW Health information: “The Northern Rivers continues to have the worst rate of decay among 12-year-olds in NSW, second worst among five-year-olds and one of the highest rates of hospital admissions for dental treatment under general anaesthetic.
“Dental decay is Australia’s most prevalent health problem and is the second-most costly diet-related disease in Australia, with an economic impact comparable with that of heart disease and diabetes.
“The proven protective benefits of water fluoridation have been instrumental in the decline of dental decay over the past 50 years.”
Dr White says in the letter a survey on fluoridation acceptance showed Ballina at 83.2 per cent support.
However, Wardell’s Brian McDougall opposed the move to fluoridate the shire’s water supply back in 2006 – and his opinion hasn’t been swayed. He was ‘flabbergasted’ to learn the issue was back on the table with council.
Mr McDougall said any decision on fluoridation should be made via a referendum, rather than by a decision of council.
He said there was an equal amount of scientific argument for and against fluoridation.