Copy of the following statement signed by Anna Bligh on October 15, 2008, published with this article:
I, Anna Bligh, as the instigator of forced
fluoridation in Queensland, give my personal
guarantee that water fluoridation causes no adverse
health effects, and in the event that it does, I will
accept full liability and will provide financial
Anna Bligh has signed a personal guarantee that could cost the Premier her personal assets in a court batttle if people become sick from water flouridation, a Brisbane lawyer said.
This week, Ms Bligh confirmed she had signed a legal document in which she accepts full personal liability for flouridation and promises to provide financial compensation in the event that it causes adverse health affects.
Flouride was introduced into the state’s water supply in December. At the time, Health Minister Stephen Robertson was presented with two petitions totalling 6000 signatures against the move, which will see a final fluoride concentration of 0.6 parts per million.
The document, which Ms Bligh signed on October 15 at a community meeting, was first published in the Hinterland Voice independent newspaper.
“The Premier signed the document as a demonstration of her comittment to fluoridation,” the Premier’s spokeswoman said.
“She did not make this decision lightly and stands by it.”
But the promise could provide a loophole for anti-flouridation activists to take legal action over the roll-out of fluoride.
Mark O’Connor, a compensation specialist and partner at Brisbane law firm Bennett & Philp, said state laws prevent residents from taking any action against water authorities.
However, he said the Premier’s pledge means she could be liable as a private citizen, although it would be difficult to establish a case against her.
“You’d have to provide medical evidence the condition has been caused by consumption of fluoridated water and not another factor,” Mr O’Connor explained.
He said anyone bringing a case against Ms Bligh would have to show they had changed their behaviour on the basis of the promise.
“It’s an unsual case. I’ve never seen this done before,” he said.
“It would appear she is giving a personal guarantee, rather than a guarantee on behalf of the Government.
“Any claim would therefore be against Ms Bligh’s own assets.
“I doubt she would put her assets at risk, unless she was sure that fluoride wouldn’t cause disease.”
At an anti-fluoridation rally on Tuesday, Queenslanders Against Water Fluoridation spokeswoman Jeanie Ryan said the group was still calling on Ms Bligh to end fluoridation because of its health effects.
An article published in the respected medical journal Lancet said fluoride can cause neurotoxicity in laboratory animals, but hasn’t yet been proven to be toxic to humans.
Studies in rural communities in China have found high fluoride concentrations in well water may cause skeletal abnormalities and affect intelligence.
Australian Dental Association Queensland branch president, Rockhampton dentist Greg Moore, said there could be a 20-40 per cent reduction in tooth decay as a result of fluoridated water.