EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: The alternative mecca of Byron Bay in northern NSW is in the grip of a passionate debate over whether or not to put fluoride in the town’s drinking water.
Health experts say the number of small children in the Byron Shire requiring dental surgery is three times that of the rest of the state and that the problem could be solved by fluoride. But those opposed to the chemical compound being added to water believe it’s poisonous.
Tonight both sides argued their case at a community meeting.
ROBERT GAMMAL, ANTI-FLOURIDE CAMPAIGNER: We have intolerances, we have kidney disease, we have cancer … we have cancer. There is a strong association in fluoridated areas compared to non-fluoridated areas of the rates of cancer.
ALISON JONES, DEAN OF MEDICINE, UNI. OF WOLLONGONG: We’ve got very clear evidence of Australian drinking water standards that shows that this mythology of adding in buckets of arsenic and other heavy metals is simply not true and it’s being promoted inappropriately.
EMMA ALBERICI: Byron Council formally debates the issue next week. Currently around 96 per cent of the state’s drinking water is fluoridated.
And we’ll bring you a full report on the fluoridation battle in Byron Bay tomorrow night.