FLUORIDE should never be added to Ballarat’s water supply, a public meeting was told last night.

The meeting was addressed by New York’s St Lawrence University Professor of Chemistry Paul Connett and former South Australia Dental Association president Dr Andrew Harms.

Both men are against fluoride being added to water supplies, saying the chemical had been banned or removed in many countries across the world.

Professor Connett said fluoridation was not effective.

“And obviously if it’s not effective, you only need a small health risk to put it out of the picture,” he said.

He said fluoride was detrimental to bones, the brain and the thyroid gland.

“Unfortunately this debate has been largely controlled by the dental lobby and only a few have had the courage to step out,” he said.

“But there are other tissues in the body so why on earth would you put so much effort and so much money into changing tooth decay by a very small amount at best when in fact there are these health effects.

“You may be protecting the teeth but surely the brain is more important, the thyroid is more important, even the bones are more important.”

Dr Harms had been a practising dentist and said he supported fluoride going into country areas across South Australia up until five years ago.

“I believed the propaganda but I am no longer a member of the SADA and I feel that my position is untenable to support fluoride anymore,” he said.

“Fluoride is outdated, it is obsolete and the health risks far outweigh any small benefits.”

Ballarat Health Service has been leading a recent push to see fluoride introduced to Ballarat.