Fluoride Action Network

Brisbane: Qld Opposition backs fluoridation despite bungle

Source: ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | May 21st, 2009 | By Chris O
Location: Australia

The State Opposition leader says fluoride is still a good idea, despite confusion over this month’s overdose at the North Pine water treatment plant in south-east Queensland.

There has been confusion and contradiction about who was affected by the overdose, how severe it was and exactly when it happened.

John-Paul Langbroek says the Government has bungled the incident, with conflicting stories about who was affected.

But he says that does not mean fluoride should be put on hold.

“I think the important thing is if it’s done properly it is a great public health benefit,” Mr Langbroek said.

“I’ve always been an advocate for it, but it needs to be done properly.

“Putting it in when we don’t even know, when we’ve got to get independent experts to sort out the mess that’s been created, it clearly shows that the Government has bungled this.”

The State Opposition says water infrastructure in south-east Queensland is too complicated and unwieldy that has contributed to the prolonged confusion surrounding the overdose.

“It’s completely unacceptable and to hear it’s in a completely different suburb and different people affected and a different day.

“[The Government] took this issue off council because supposedly it was a shambles and they needed to fix it – instead of that they’ve created their own shambles.”

Meanwhile, Premier Anna Bligh says this month’s fluoride overdose was an extremely rare event.

Ms Bligh says a report on why it happened will be finished next month.

“I’ve asked if there’s any precedent for it anywhere in Australia – it’s a very unusual, extremely unusual event,” Ms Bligh said.

“There is no precedent that we can find anywhere else in the country – that’s I think no credit to the people who are involved in this and I want to find out exactly what happened.

“I will be absolutely honest with the public, even if that means political embarrassment.”

Dental Association

The Australian Dental Association says the fiasco over water fluoridation should not threaten its the roll out across the state.

Association Queensland president Greg Moore says the blunder has given ammunition to people opposed to water fluoridation.

“I’m firmly of the opinion that water fluoridation is of such a benefit that this technical incident at a fluoridation dosing plant should not get in the way of the roll out of water fluoridation throughout Queensland,” Mr Moore said.