FLUORIDE will continue to be added to Townsville’s water supply, with Mayor Jenny Hill pledging not to go the way of other local governments in Queensland.
It comes as data shows dental outcomes for children were better in the city than in nearby non-fluoridated areas.
Townsville is now the state’s only major regional centre outside the southeast to continue the practice after two successful votes to stop it in Gladstone and Mackay.
Hinchinbrook Shire Council may be next, with Mayor Ramon Jayo promising to survey residents about fluoride more than three years after it was added to the water supply.
But Cr Hill said she had no plans for a similar vote.
“At this stage there’s no reason to remove fluoride based on the evidence provided,” she said.
“The debate in Mackay was really more about who was going to pay, that was the real issue.
“We’ve had it for a long time and only add it through once main source in Douglas while some councils have up to six different treatment plants.
“That makes adding fluoride very expensive for them but that’s not a concern here.’’
According to figures from a two-year survey run by Queensland Health, children in the city have better oral health than surrounding regions that previously did not use fluoride.
From 2010 to 2012, Townsville dentists reported 38.8 per cent of children had cavities compared to 57.2 per cent for the rest of the Northern region.
“The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has just released a paper stating they had done a full review of fluoride levels across the country and no side effects were found,” Cr Hill said.
“People should remember tooth decay was one of the biggest causes of heart disease for many years because of infections. Based on all the evidence provided, the benefits support this usage in water.”
Cr Hill said the vast majority of the community supported the practice.
“There are always people who have their objections, like those who don’t believe in vaccinations,’’ she said.
“Public health is about the greater good for the rest of the community.”
ADA president Dr Rick Olive said there was no reason for local governments to stop adding fluoride.
“It’s unacceptable that local councils are giving in to the pressure of a small number of fanatics and are completely ignoring evidence from organisations like the ADA, the World Health Organisation and the AMA on this vitally important issue,” he said.