MORE research into the costs of putting “highly toxic minerals” in the city’s water will be done before a decision is made to fluoridate the water supply.
Cairns Mayor Kevin Byrne last week said he would like to introduce fluoride immediately to improve the city’s poor dental record, but would hold a referendum to give residents their say.
At last Tuesday’s Cairns Water meeting, Cr Annette Sheppard called for a report to determine the costs – health and financial – for the council to implement such a plan, which involved putting “highly toxic minerals” into drinking water.
“I want to know what the cost implications are to council . . . (and) the workplace health and safety implications,” Cr Sheppard said.
She said many countries, including “most of [Western] Europe”, had banned the practice of putting fluoride in their water.
But Cr Byrne said there had been “umpteen” reports done on fluoridating Cairns’s water.
He said there had been a concerted effort by the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Dental Association to introduce the practice in Queensland.
“The level of decay in children is increasing,” Cr Byrne said.
“(The associated dental and medical costs) are a huge impost on this state.”
Cr Sheppard, who has post-graduate qualifications in primary health care and clinical nutrition, said that since fluoride tablets were available free from the council, she did not see why the city should have to face the expense of fluoridating the water.
“There’s also the issue of freedom of choice – a community should not be mass medicated when there are other options,” she said.
“It’s better to err on the side of caution than introduce something that may or may not have health benefits.”
It was moved that Cairns Water boss Brian Smyth would prepare an updated report, which would include independent advice on the implications of the practice.