A FLUORIDATION plan for Yanchep and Two Rocks’ water could be in the pipeline after the Department of Health put out a call for public comment this week.
A community meeting on March 9 will enable residents to discuss a proposal to add fluoride to the towns’ drinking water with representatives from the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee.
Committee chair Richard Lugg said it would bring the towns in line with 92 per cent of West Australians who received fluoridated drinking water, although places like Bunbury, Busselton, Carnarvon and Kununurra did not yet have fluoridated water supplies.
Dr Lugg said local and international evidence showed fluoridation of the water supply reduced the incidence of dental decay significantly, confirming this was the only reason to add fluoride. “However, before we make any recommendation to the Minister for Health over the proposal, we are eager to seek community views and opinions,” he said.
In communities with younger families, there was a stronger case for fluoridation, according to Dr Lugg, but whether tooth decay was a major dental problem in the Yanchep area was unclear. “We might get a better handle on it once we’ve been up there and talked to families.”
Dr Lugg said there were other sources of fluoride, which occurs naturally in some water supplies and in people’s diets, such as in fish.
“Probably the biggest source of fluoride outside of water is toothpaste,” he said.
Yanchep has had a separate water supply to other metropolitan areas, which was initially provided independently, and towns with less than 3000 people tend not to have fluoridated water supplies.
Dr Lugg said the minister had to decide whether or not to add fluoride, and the committee would make a recommendation based on community consultation and cost factors.
Even if the proposal was favourable, he said it was likely to take at least 18 to 24 months to start the process. The community meeting will be held at the Yanchep Community Centre from 4 to 7pm on March 9.