WHILE the NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant travelled to Ballina yesterday to sell the benefits of fluoridation of the water supply to councillors, she doesn’t think the decision should be taken out of the hands of local government.
But the Ballina Fluoridation Free Network, who also met with councillors this week, say the public water supply should “never be used for mass medication”.
Ballina Shire Council will tomorrow vote on the issue of fluoridation again, as Cr Keith Williams has lodged a notice of motion to reverse the previous decision to add fluoride to the shire’s drinking water. This follows Lismore City Council’s backflip on fluoridation last week.
Cr Williams’ issue is not with the science of fluoridation, but with the ethics of local government being responsible for “mass medication” of the community when other options are available.
Dr Chant said 96% of the state’s population drank fluoridated water and that was achieved through “working with local communities”.
But “I’m not proposing we change the current situation”.
And that’s even though she agreed North Coast folk made up the bulk of the 4% of NSW’s population which doesn’t have fluoridated water and, from the NSW Child Dental Health Survey of 2007, has the poorest oral hygiene among children in the state.
Ballina Fluoridation Free Network publicity officer Ilga Sleja said fluoridation of a public water supply was “unethical and against civil rights”.
She said fluoride was available through other things like toothpaste.