Sparked by a deep concern with state fluoridation policies, independent South Australian parliamentarian Ann Bressington has been touring the NSW North Coast this month to touch base with anti-fluoridation groups. Ms Bressington is hoping to encourage coordinated, nationwide opposition to the fluoridation of water and wants the Australian public to educate themselves about the dangers of fluoride. She is hoping to instigate a parliamentary inquiry in South Australia as well as a national inquiry into fluoridation.
Ms Bressington said that three weeks ago in Mt Gambier, the South Australian government ignored widespread public opposition to the fluoridation of water, including a hunger strike by one citizen, and went ahead with dosing the drinking water.
“The government had the gall to say that after extensive consultation it would go ahead anyway,” Ms Bressington said. “They have covered themselves by putting a ‘get out of jail’ clause in legislation saying that if anything happens to anyone from water fluoridation, the government is not responsible.
“If people want to ingest fluoride, they should go to chemist and buy fluoride tablets.”
Ms Bressington became interested in the effects of fluoride when she was studying at a natural and traditional medicine college. She discovered there had not been much research conducted into the effects of fluoride on humans, animals and the environment, and went on to investigate the matter herself.
“Fluoride is a toxic waste product of the aluminium and phosphate industry and is used as a pesticide, fungicide and rodenticide,” Ms Bressington said. “In 2000, the European court of justice ruled that fluoridation was mass medication and did nothing to enhance water quality. Our government doesn’t want to look at that either.
“This is a serious health issue and if we are not going to do scientific research in Australia, then we must consider the hundreds of peer reviewed research articles done globally.”
Ms Bressington said studies conducted by a leading specialist on fluoride toxicity, Dr AK Susheela, showed that fluoride ingestion was harmful to humans, as well as to animals and environmental toxicity.
“Fluoride has been linked to miscarriages and with Down Syndrome in babies being born to young mothers. Harvard University studies also found links between bone fluoride and bone cancer in young boys. About half of the fluoride we ingest accumulates in the skeleton and promotes hip fractures and arthritis. Fluoride attacks ligaments, and impairs thyroid and kidney function, as well as causing/exacerbating other diseases… and research shows that it does not significantly help reduce decay in teeth.”
She said an Australian doctor had told her that fluoride-caused illnesses were commonly misdiagnosed as arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome in Australia and as a result, wrong medications were being given out.
Ms Bressington said safe fluoride levels for human ingestion as set by the EPA are between one to one and a half parts per million.
“The sodium fluoride used for fluoridating in one of the most toxic substances in the world and accumulates in our bodies,” Ms Bressington said. “We only excrete 20-50% of what we ingest and there has never been a study done to show that humans can tolerate 1ppm of sodium fluoride in every glass of water we drink. It is also used in food products, baby formula and as a preservative in baked beans; none of this has been approved for human consumption. Instead our food and water is being used as a dumping ground for toxic waste.”
Ms Bressington said that in 1955, the Australian Medical Association said it was too risky to add fluoride to the water. Despite this, in 1957, the federal government then mandated for fluoridation with the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act. Ms Bressington said with this legislation, the government overrode people’s democratic right to say no, and she believes people should have a right to choose whether they want fluoridation.
On her tour, Ms Bressington visited Lismore and met with anti-fluoride campaigner Al Oshlack, who is currently undertaking a court case against Rous Water and Ballina Shire Council against their proposed construction of five fluoride dosing plants in the Northern Rivers. Mr Oshlack’s case will be heard in the Land and Environment Court on November 26 and he will be arguing that the defendants have breached the Environmental Planning and Authority Act.
“Nobody had taken these authorities to court in the 50 years since we’ve had fluoride,” Mr Oshlack said. “The Northern Rivers has had a tradition of being anti-fluoride, that’s why our area never got fluoridated before now. Dentists in our area have told me that because we don’t have fluoride in the water here, we don’t see mottling in children’s teeth caused by fluoride.”
Ms Bressignton hopes to champion the three main issues surrounding the fluoridation of our water supplies in Australia and is setting up a Facebook page to connect anti-fluoride campaigners Australia-wide.
“We need to get some public policy happening to get rid of fluoride and fight for more studies to be done on fluoride, toxicity and the health of our children,” Ms Bressignton said. “I encourage members of the public to Google fluoride on the internet – you will be amazed at the information that comes up. We are not just a mob of fluorophobes who don’t want to ingest fluoride.”