COFFS Harbour City councillor Rodney Degens will attempt to halt fluoridation of the city’s water supply at this afternoon’s council meeting.
The Greens councillor has given notice of his intention to move that the Department of Health be requested to rescind their gazettal that Coffs Harbour must fluoridate the water supply and that the council seek legal opinion regarding council’s options to stop fluoridation.
Cr Degens said according to 2005 World Health Organisation data; dental health in 12-year-olds in non-fluoridated industrialised countries was as good, if not better than those in countries with fluoridated water.
Cr Degens said contrary to general opinion, the decision to fluoridate was not a fait accompli and the decision was still under council control, but the stakes had been raised due to the $570,000 cost of the fluoridation equipment already installed in the new water treatment plant, which would be borne by ratepayers if fluoridation was halted.
He said the decision to add fluoride had never been popular; the annual running costs for fluoridation would be about $78,000 and fluoridating the whole town’s water supply for the minute amount needed for drinking was obviously excessive.
Council staff have commented that there is no obligation by the Department of Health to consider the request favourably, legal advice would probably be costly and halting fluoridation would mean council wasted more than $573,600.
Staff said the forecast annual operating cost of fluoridation was $78,778 of which chemical costs were estimated at $32,472.