BARWON Water board chairman Stephen Vaughan yesterday accused anti-fluoride groups of scaremongering and running a “guerrilla campaign” of misinformation.
Speaking ahead of a public meeting on fluoride, Mr Vaughan said anti-fluoride groups used a “raft of unsubstantiated claims” to try to frighten people about fluoride in the water supply.
Mr Vaughan said there was overwhelming evidence that fluoride was safe and an effective way to prevent tooth decay.
He said 80 per cent of the Victorian population had been receiving fluoride in their water supply for 25 years and had the same health outcomes as the 20 per cent of people without fluoride in their water.
Mr Vaughan, who is also a cancer specialist and has appeared as an expert witness in hundreds of court cases, said claims that fluoride caused a type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma were outrageous.
“There is no evidence that osteosarcoma is caused by fluoridation and it’s outrageous to make that suggestion,” he said.
“It is unscientific and unsubstantiated.”
He said suggestions that fluoride in their water supply reduced intelligence were “ridiculous” and without foundation.
“They’re not using the scientific evidence that is available and it makes it very difficult to have a good public discussion on an important public health issue,” he said.
“The anti-fluoride movement is scaremongering of the worst sort.
“This is a serious matter and making silly, unsubstantiated statements does not help the debate.”
Mr Vaughan said the government, not Barwon Water, made the decision to fluoridate Geelong’s water supply.
“But the Barwon Water board supports fluoridation, unanimously,” he said.
Earlier in the week, New York chemistry professor Paul Connett, who is opposed to fluoridation, said there was evidence that fluoride could have a negative impact on health.