FLUORIDE is officially flowing through the Cairns region’s water supply.
Cairns Regional Council started adding fluoride to the region’s water supply last night as part of a test of equipment before the chemical is permanently added from December 31.
The chemical, which Queensland Health says will strengthen residents’ teeth against the effects of tooth decay, was added to the Tunnel Hill Water Treatment Plant, near Copperlode Dam.
Acting Infrastructure and Planning Minister Rachel Nolan said the council had successfully completed pre-operational testing of newly- installed dosing equipment at the treatment plant.
“It’s no secret that Queenslanders have the highest level of tooth decay in the country,” Ms Nolan said.
“The introduction of fluoride into our drinking water supply is a crucial step forward in addressing this problem with Cairns the latest region to come online.”
Cr Linda Cooper, who has been critical of the move, said there was no concrete evidence areas were better off with fluoridated water.
“I would much prefer to see the State Government spending their money on things like fluoride tablets that the public may choose to ingest if they so wish to do so,” Cr Cooper said.
“This is taking away absolute choice from people and it’s mass medicating, which no government should have the right to do.”
The Australian Dental Association of Queensland yesterday issued a statement claiming fears about fluoride being added to water supplies were unfounded.
ADAQ chief executive officer Paul Andrews said most of Australia, including Townsville, and every capital except Brisbane had fluoridated water for more than 30 years.
“Contrary to what many people opposed to fluoridation might imply, we are yet to see people living in Townsville, New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory suffering from bone cancer, fluorosis, birth abnormalities or any other effects,” Mr Andrews said.
“Water fluoridation is one of the most important ways of preventing dental caries and has worldwide support of peak public health and dental authorities.”