CAIRNS medical professionals have revived a once-powerful representative body with the aim of convincing the city that fluoride should be added to the water supply.
The Cairns Local Medical Association, which was at its peak in the 1990s, met at the weekend and agreed to generate a petition to council signed by local doctors stating the case for the preventive health measure.
Dr Sarah Coll said there was an “overwhelming consensus” in the Cairns medical community that fluoride should be returned to the city’s water supply. Dr Coll said scientific evidence showed fluoride improved the dental health of everyone from breastfed babies through to adults.
“We’re actually quite horrified that fluoride was removed from our water,” she said. “I know that sounds like strong language but the medical community was mortified when that decision was made on behalf of our community.”
Cairns Regional Council made the decision to remove the fluoride from Cairns’ water supply in 2013, after it had been introduced for just two years.
Council has included the fluoride issue in its extensive community survey, Our Cairns, which will close on Wednesday.
Dr Coll said if council needed legal advice it would consult lawyers, so the same principle should apply when it needed medical advice.
Mayor Bob Manning has refused to be drawn on the issue, saying “the science” would be deciding factor.
Water and Waste Committee chair Councillor Richie Bates welcomed the contribution from Cairns Local Medical Association and implored fellow councillors to seek expert advice on the issue.
Cr Bates said he wrote to the mayor earlier this year requesting a presentation to councillors on fluoride by experts at James Cook University but he received no response.
“It is really our obligation as a council to seek out the best expert advice,” he said.
JCU head of dentistry Professor Neil Meredith penned an opinion piece for Saturday’s Weekend Post, in which he consulted 220 scientific papers and publications and concluded Cairns should join 80 per cent of Australia enjoying the benefits of water fluoridation.