FLUORIDE: just saying the word is likely to spark some kind of debate with the person standing next to you.
And after the Save Our Shire Action Group presented a petition to Southern Downs Regional Council, it is a topic the councillors will be discussing in coming months.
SOSAG chairman Bob Johnson presented the petition, with several hundred signatures on it, to the council during its general council meeting at Stanthorpe yesterday.
Abcout 20 people gathered to watch the presentation and see the petition handed over.
Mr Johnson told the council the group decided to start the petition after the topic was brought up by a number of people at their listening post on the main street.
The petition asked the council to cease adding fluoride to the region’s water supply.
The former State Government made it compulsory for all councils in Queensland to fluoridate water.
When the government changed hands it reversed the decision and said it was up to each council to decide whether it would continue to add fluoride to the water.
Since the announcement was made six councils have opted to remove the chemical from their water supplies.
“When fluoride was introduced it was done so against the will of many people in Stanthorpe,” Mr Johnson said.
“It was instituted by the previous state government, but it is very costly.
“If it is about the council looking after our health then everyone should have free access to fluoride tablets, not just the 50% of Stanthorpe who have town water.”
SOSAG spokeswoman Mary Rofe told the council she was well aware there were pros and cons to fluoridated water.
“There is significant for and against research out there, but the question isn’t settled.
“It is still a big question mark,” she said.
“Are you willing to stick by a decision that still has the jury out by mass medicating when you know there is so much controversy about it?”
Southern Downs mayor Peter Blundell thanked the group for its presentation.
Cr Blundell said there was no doubt that each councillor had his or her own views and opinions about the issue.
He agreed with the SOSAG representatives, stating that fluoride should be something the state health department dealt with and not local governments.
“We do not have a health department to tell us the clinical benefits of fluoridated water,” Cr Blundell said.
“The health department has not provided us with any facts to prove or disprove the benefits.”
The council received the petition and will discuss whether they will continue to fluoridate the water at a future council meeting.