THE first batch of powdered fluoride will be added to southeast Queensland water on Monday, with some residents drinking it by the end of the week.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh yesterday confirmed that most southeast Queensland residents will be drinking fluoridated water by Christmas.
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Northern parts of the Gold Coast will be the first to taste fluoridated water within three to four days, and it will then be added to Greater Brisbane – including Moreton, Ipswich, Logan and Redlands – on Friday, the Sunshine Coast on December 12 and the southern Gold Coast on December 15.
“Almost a year ago to the day, I said we could no longer ignore the extensive scientific evidence that shows fluoridation is the missing link in Queensland’s oral health system,” Ms Bligh said.
“Queensland’s six-year-olds have nearly 30 per cent more decay in their baby teeth than the national average and research shows a similar result for permanent teeth in 12-year-olds.
“Townsville is our only major fluoridated centre and decay rates are up to 65 per cent lower there than in Brisbane.”
The $35 million project – initiated by Ms Bligh last December after over-ruling her predecessor Peter Beattie – has been largely supported by Queenslanders.
Grange mum Heidi Jensen does her best to keep her two sons’ teeth clean and regularly gives them fluoride.
She said she supports the introduction of fluoride into Queensland’s water supply.
“I’ve always given my children fluoride tablets, so I’m all for it,” she said.
”I’m aware it’s a poison, but I don’t think it’s harmful.”
However there are some who regard its introduction as contentious an issue as recycled water.
A dry summer would also see recycled water added to drinking supplies in southeast Queensland between February and May.
Ms Bligh told The Sunday Mail yesterday that she was “well aware” that voters could be drinking recycled water as she went to the polls and conceded it may damage her chances of an election victory.
The election is scheduled for September, but has been widely tipped for February 21.
The State Government backed down last week and announced it would only add recycled water to SEQ dams when combined levels dropped below 40 per cent.
Ms Bligh said a testing phase would “ensure the safety and reliability of the fluoride delivery system”.
She said: “Commissioning will involve the intermittent injection of fluoride into the water supply at lower doses initially, building up over the next month to the required level.”