BALLINA residents will have fluoride in the water.
An extraordinary meeting held last week voted down a rescission motion to overturn a previous decision to add fluoride to the shire’s water supply.
The vote on the rescission motion was 6-4 against, with councillors Keith Johnson, David Wright, Jeff Johnson and Alan Brown voting in favour of the motion.
A spokesperson for the North Coast Area Health Service said defeat of the fluoridation rescission motion at the extraordinary meeting of the Ballina Shire Council was ‘a reflection of the weight and credibility of proven evidence in support of the effectiveness and safety of fluoridated water in reducing dental decay’.
Teeth for Health Project Manager, John Irving, said that the six supporting councillors were able to vote in favour of water fluoridation ‘because the evidence is so strong’.
“Water fluoridation is not new. It’s been around for some 60 years and in that time has been rigorously examined and re-examined and will continue to be the subject of rigorous research both here and abroad,” he said.
Ballina will now join Lismore and Richmond Valley shires in implementing this important public health initiative that Mr Irving said will lead to lower dental decay and all the health and social problems associated with it.
“We will also be working with council to look at other oral health promotion activities, particularly tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste in areas not served by the water supply,” Mr Irving said.
Mr Irving said one of the positive aspects of the fluoridation conversation in its recent revival in Ballina was ‘the strong and credible local support from local ADA president Dr Brendan White and a whole range of medical, dental and allied health individuals and groups as well as members of the broader community’.
“These are the unsung heroes of public health whose efforts ultimately reward disadvantaged communities with improved oral health,” he said.
He said the water supply currently had about 0.11 parts per million of naturally-occurring fluoride in the water.
He said enough sodium fluoride, in a powdered form, would be added to the water to bring the level up to 1 part per million.
Ilga Sleja, from the Ballina Fluoridation Free Network, said the vote against the rescission motion was a vote against allowing the community to have its say on the controversial subject.