CAIRNS Regional has called on the Queensland Government to find an alternative solution to the ongoing water fluoridation debate.
Council today made clear its position on water fluoridation, citing “divided public opinion” and the role of the State Government in oral health as the key factors in choosing not to add fluoride to Cairns water supplies.
“Through the Our Cairns surveys, we have now heard from nearly 6800 people in our community on this issue,” Mayor Bob Manning said in a statement.
“The survey clearly shows that the community remains split on putting fluoride back into the water supply. With 48 per cent for and 38 per cent against, there is no overwhelming community support either for or against.
“Our Cairns also, for the first time, told us why people are opposed. The overwhelming majority of those who oppose fluoride truly believe that ingesting it will harm their physical health in some way.
“When you read the comments, you come to realise the depth of their convictions on this issue and there is no doubt they will not shift in their position.
“It is also clear that fluoride is a State issue and if you believe that children in this state have poorer oral health than others, surely it’s time for Queensland Health to take responsibility for this issue as it does for other public health matters.
“But even if the State Government took back the responsibility of fluoride, it would be faced with the same issue we have been – that being gaining the express consent of a significant majority of the community.
“That being the case, it is clear that Queensland Health needs to identify other ways that fluoride could be delivered to those most in need of improved oral health care outcomes.”
In raising the motion in General Business, Deputy Mayor Terry James claimed the trend across Queensland was moving away from water fluoridation, with just 24 of the 77 councils in the state adding fluoride to their drinking water.
He claimed that, internationally, other methods of fluoride delivery were favoured.
“In many parts of the USA, Japan and Thailand, schools operate a fluoride mouth rinsing program for children over six years of age,” Cr James said.
“Another way suggested to me was distributing fluoride bottled water through schools.