Ballina Shire Council’s town drinking water is about to have fluoride added to it at a cost of over $100,000 per year.
This is despite less than one per cent of that water actually being used for drinking, and a worldwide trend of removing it from local water supplies.
At this week’s (Thursday 27 August) council meeting, I’m again asking the councillors to support a community poll at the next local government election to determine whether the majority of residents are in favour of adding fluoride to the water.
The cost of such a poll would be approximately $15,000. For a small increase to this cost council could also ask the community other important questions.
Dental hygiene is an important issue but adding fluoride to the water is not the solution.
If Ballina Council feels that it should play a positive role in this area of public health, then I believe part of the $100,000 per year would be much better spent on an educational program in conjunction with local infant and primary schools, said Mr. Johnson.
A comprehensive study conducted in the US showed only a small difference in the level of tooth decay between communities who had lived all their lives in fluoridated areas when compared to non-fluoridated areas. The difference was not clinically nor statistically significant, said Councillor Johnson
I’m not disputing the benefits of applying fluoride topically (directly to the teeth), said Mr. Johnson. However I am saying that the main causes of tooth decay relate to diet and behaviour, and not the level of fluoride in the drinking water, said Mr. Johnson
I’m a great believer in direct democracy and local elections provide a cost effective opportunity for local communities to determine their position on controversial issues such as fluoride, What better way to conduct a comprehensive survey of local residents? said Mr. Johnson.
In the future polls could take on an electronic format but at the moment local government elections are the time to do it, said Mr. Johnson.
If the outcome of the poll is that the majority of residents don’t want fluoride added to the water supply, then the next Council should take all necessary actions to remove it, said Mr. Johnson.