BALLARAT Health Watch is calling for health professionals to defend their claims water fluoridation would benefit the city at a forum next month.
Professor Paul Connett, from New York, will present scientific evidence on the dangers of water fluoridation, and evidence on the world- wide failure of fluoridation programs to control dental 1ealth problems.
Ballarat Health Watch spokesperson Alwyn Anstis said the group had tried unsuccessfully to secure the ser-vices of an expert who sup-ports water fluoridation. Mr Anstis said the group wanted the forum to be a debate, where people could have questions answered, but their attempts had been in vain.
Water Quality Australia spokesperson David McRae said supporters of fluoridation were unwilling to voice their opinion. “The main thing we’re find-ing is that people in favour of fluoride are ducking public debate and have been for some years now,” Mr McRae said.
“We think they need to present their evidence and put it up against Professor Connett’s evidence.”
A spokesperson for the Aus-tralian Dental Association said its policy was to not attend public debates. “We rely on experts in the field to provide us with the research that supports us in saying that fluoride is still an effective measure.” The group’s call comes as the State Government steps up its campaign to extend water fluoridation throughout Vic-toria, releasing information about its health benefits.
Victoria’s Chief Health Offi-cer Dr Robert Hall said a booklet had been prepared to assist people living in non -fluoridated parts of the state to become better informed about the dental health benefits of fluoridated water supplies. “Water fluoridation helps protect teeth against decay and is the most effective way of allowing everybody access to the benefits of fluoride.”
Ben Hart, spokesperson for Health Minister Bronwyn Pike, said the Government would not impose water fluoridation on any community, but would encourage people to consider the significant health benefits.
“We find it an issue of equity in that why do children in Melbourne have access to something that protects their teeth and Ballarat doesn’t have that,” he said.
“We see it as being fundamental in protecting people’s dental health.”
To fluoridate or not, that is the question to be raised soon at a public forum.
The forum is on November 1.
at the Brewery Lecture Theatre at the University of Ballarat’s: SMB campus at 7.30pm.