MAREEBA’S tap water has been flowing without fluoride for nearly three years after an audit deemed the town’s treatment plant as inadequate.
In 2009, Tenix Australia outlined upgrades that were required to the plant in order for it to comply with the Code of Practice as set out in the Water Fluoridation Act (2008) and Water Fluoridation Regulation (2008).
Tablelands Regional Council Mayor Rosa Lee Long said “a lot of Mareeba people will be shocked” to learn of the news considering the former council had “not specifically” made the news public, even though it was raised at a public council meeting on May 20, 2009.
Ms Lee Long said while it would be ideal for the State Government to fund the full cost of the Mareeba water plant upgrade of $1 million, its commitment of $550,000 to the plant would still leave council with a massive shortfall.
She is contacting Local Government Minister David Crisafulli this week.
“We (council) can’t afford to put the $450,000 in,” Ms Lee Long said.
“Do Mareeba people want their water fluoridated?”
As the former council was going to be required to implement fluoridation at Kuranda, Atherton, and Malanda, a council spokeswoman said the former Mayor Tom Gilmore anticipated that the Mareeba upgrade could be completed at that time with State Government funding.
“To upgrade the plant any earlier would have meant spending a considerable amount of ratepayers’ funds,” the spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman said if Mareeba residents did not want fluoride in their water supply, they must demonstrate that through letters, emails, public gatherings, phone calls and to their local state member of parliament.
Dental surgeon Ron Blake, who sits on the Australian Dental Association Queensland board, said fluoride was added into water one part per million which was “bugger-all”.
“At that level, you can’t poison yourself,” Mr Blake said.
“I have not seen anyone who has fluorosis from town water but I have seen it in people who have overdosed on fluoride tablets.”
A dental surgeon for more than three decades at Mareeba, Mr Blake said he saw a difference in clients who had grown up on farms compared to those living in towns.
“We have been living with it in our water for 45 years in this town apart from it being stopped two and a half years ago,” he said.
“I’ve seen people who are in their 20s and 30s who have been coming to my practice (for years) and they have no fillings.
“There’s natural fluoridation in water.
“Fluoridation is optimising that fluoride level.”