ANOTHER hand grenade has been thrown into the fluoridation war with Warrnambool’s mayor calling for Wannon Water to explain safety implications.
Cr Michael Neoh said fluoridation critics had long blamed the city council, but the water authority had been left off the hook despite it having a direct involvement in adding fluoride to the city supply.
He also warned that unruly behaviour in council-organised discussions on fluoridation would not be tolerated any more.
His comments followed a heated council debate on Monday night where a decision was made to organise a public forum to hear scientific evidence from both sides of the issue.
The debate was triggered by a senior officer’s recommendation that the council take no further action because fluoridation was a State Government responsibility.
Fluoride was added to Warrnambool’s water supply late last September.
Invitations will be sent to two local GPs worried about fluoridation health effects, the Department of Human Services and the dental profession.
Cr Neoh later contacted The Standard to air his concerns. He said considering the debate focus had now shifted from who was responsible for fluoridation to the health implications, Wannon Water must be asked to explain its stance.
“It’s a fair call now to ask the board of Wannon Water if they have been briefed on the safety of fluoride,” he said.
“Has Wannon Water board and officers got that information and has it been made available to the public?
“Surely Wannon Water has a duty of care to supply evidence on the safety of fluoride.
“Wannon Water has had greater involvement in this than the city council.”
Cr Neoh said he would suggest that the board be invited to address the forthcoming forum.
Wannon Water board chairman Harry Peeters told The Standard the authority had merely followed State Government directions.
“We put into practice what the policy is,” he said.
Mr Peeters said the board would consider any request from the city council.
“But I’m not going to pre-empt any decision by our board,” he said.
Cr Neoh has warned that rowdy fluoridation opponents will be ejected from the forum if they disrupt proceedings.
“I will clear the gallery if necessary,” he said.
“Our guests must be shown respect and given a fair chance to present their evidence without interjections.
“As meeting chairman I have the power to remove people if there are ongoing interjections.”
Monday’s council meeting had about 50 fluoridation opponents in the gallery. Some of them interjected, disrupting debate.
Cr Neoh wondered if there had been selective targeting of the council or naivety about who was ultimately responsible for the directive to fluoridate public water.
Cr Neoh said the State Government had decided to fluoridate Warrnambool’s water, not the city council.
“A number of councillors supported a motion that involves receiving a presentation about effects on humans from adding fluoride to the public water supply,” he said.
“Have these councillors asked the board of the relevant water authority if the practice, undertaken by their organisation, of adding fluoride to the public water supply is safe?”