The Byron Shire Council has voted to maintain its stance against fluoridation.
There were heated scenes in and outside the Byron council chambers today as the merits of fluoridation were debated.
A senior scientist from the Department of Health and a local dentist were heckled as they spoke in favour of the process as a way of improving dental health.
Dr Brendan White told the meeting rates of childhood tooth decay in the region are among the worst in the state and local children can wait up to 12 months for dental surgery in a public hospital.
“We have one of the highest rates of decay in children under the age of five, we have one of the highest rates of hospital admissions and our community has real trouble accessing care for these suffering children,” Dr White said.
Opponents of the plan raised a range of health concerns, they believe putting fluoride in the water supply is mass medication without consent.
Merilyn Haines says fluoridation is outdated science.
“95 per cent of world’s population don’t fluoridate their water, it’s an aberration what we do in Australia, it’s an American idea from the 1940s, surely science has changed,” Ms Haines said.
The councillors voted five-three against the motion to fluoridate.