TWENTY-ONE south-west doctors have signed an anti-fluoride petition arguing it is “imprudent” to add the chemical to public water supplies.
The doctors have declared their collective concerns about the “efficacy and safety” of water fluoridation.
With the exception of Dr Janet Van Leerdam, who practices in Cobden, the remaining 20 are based in Warrnambool.
In their letter, addressed to Department of Human Services chief health officer John Carnie, they oppose the planned fluoridation of Warrnambool, Geelong and Ballarat water supplies.
“We feel that is is imprudent to initiate further fluoridation of public water supplies until such time as modern data can either substantiate or refute the alleged benefits and the safety or otherwise is established,” they said in the letter.
“The practice of public water fluoridation pre-dates much of the scientific data that is coming through in recent years.
“The current scientific interest in the effect of fluoride on tissues other than teeth is also raising questions on safety that have not been previously addressed and may need further studies and time to validate.” Dr Natalie Ryan, who presented The Standard with the petition, said the 21 signatures were secured within one week and there was probably more to come.
“I think the response is quite powerful,” she said.
“All the doctors are doctors who have looked at the issue a bit more closely.”
Dr Ryan said the crux of the letter was that digesting fluoride was not necessary and methods where fluoride came in contact with teeth were safer.
“We all agree dental decay is a problem, but this (fluoridated water) doesn’t seem to be the magic bullet,” she said.
“Dentists concede themselves that you don’t need to swallow it to get the benefits.”
The petition was mailed to Dr Carnie on Friday.