Fluoride Action Network

Brisbane: Fluoride injured ‘won’t be compensated’

Source: ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | May 15th, 2009
Location: Australia

A Brisbane compensation lawyer says residents who received water with elevated fluoride levels will not be able to take action against the Queensland Government.

For three hours earlier this month some residents at Brendale and Warner, just north of Brisbane, were drinking water with a fluoride concentration 20 times higher than the recommended maximum limit.

An investigation is underway into an equipment malfunction.

Four thousand homes were affected and Premier Anna Bligh says they should receive an apology.

But lawyer Mark O’Connor says the Water Fluoridation Act prevents any legal action being taken against the Government over the bungle.

“The legislation makes it perfectly clear that there is no civil remedy for persons who drink fluoridated water, so regrettably if someone does have some illness that is caused by water fluoridation they don’t have any civil remedy in Queensland,” he said.

The Australian Medical Association says Brisbane residents could indeed suffer health problems from ingesting too much fluoride.

AMA Queensland president Dr Chris Davis says high levels can cause teeth pigmentation and brittleness of bones.

Meanwhile, water officials have begun distributing information to the public about the overdose.

Mike Foster from SEQ Water says up to 60 staff will be working this afternoon and tomorrow, running an information stand at the Strathpine shopping centre and making door-to-door visits in the affected suburbs of Brendale and Warner.

He says they will reassure people an investigation is underway, and the health risk was very low.

“Today’s really just about the start of our process, the sort of mobilisation of our staff and some private contractors in to tomorrow, to ensure that every household and business in the Warner-Brendale areas actually do receive information about the North Pine fluoride incident,” he said.