FLUORIDATION of the state’s water supply is one of the first issues the new Australian Medical Association of Queensland president intends to put back on the political agenda.
Dr Ingrid Tall, 38, became the youngest AMAQ president when she took over from Dr Russell Stitz yesterday for her first day in office.
Dr Tall said improving public health education, as well as community understanding of the issues facing doctors and the industry, would be major goals during her one-year term.
She said Brisbane was the only capital city in Australia without a fluoridated water supply and the incidence of teeth decay in Queensland children was double that of children in other states.
She said the high incidence of teeth decay was a major concern especially because of the impact poor oral health could have on the rest of the body.
Dr Tall said that with the recent departure of Brisbane lord mayor Jim Soorley “lightbulbs turned on” in many health organisations, after a move to introduce water fluoridation was defeated by Brisbane City Council in 1997.
“There are more than 150 scientific and health organisations worldwide that are actively wanting to provide fluoridation of the water supply, and there is a global trend towards it,” Dr Tall said.
She said the AMAQ planned to let Lord Mayor Tim Quinn settle into office before raising the issue with him but stakeholders were “talking behind the scenes and mobilising the troops”.
Cr Quinn yesterday said Brisbane City Council’s position had not changed since a 1997 report compiled by a taskforce of community and expert representatives could not rule out any negative effects of introducing fluoride into the water.
“But I want to stress that if there is any new evidence, I am always prepared to consider it,” he said yesterday.
Liberal mayoral candidate Campbell Newman yesterday said he was against the move but would be prepared to discuss the issue.