HORSHAM residents have weighed into an ongoing fluoride debate with concerns water fluoridation is receiving insufficient discussion by the community.

Since announcing a Wimmera Primary Care Partnership bid to fluoridate Horsham water on April 1, the Mail-Times has published 22 letters to the editor on the subject with 19 opposing the proposal.

Horsham mother Donna Winfield said water fluoridation was forced medication that gave her no choice over what her four children consumed.

Mrs Winfield said fluoride was a toxic chemical with too many unknown health effects to become a mandatory solution for poor oral health.

“It’s all about freedom of choice, if they want to supply people with fluoride tablets then people can at least choose,” she said.

Mrs Winfield said her children had terrific teeth and this was due to a careful diet and attention to oral hygiene.

“Only a tiny percentage of fluoride goes to the teeth, the rest goes to the liver and organs.”

She said having fluoride in water also made regulation of dosage impossible.

“I’m feeding 11-month old Sophie and if I drink ten glasses of water a day and drink ten cups of tea how much fluoride am I taking in and how much is Sophie consuming?” she said.

Mrs Winfield was particularly concerned by findings of Geelong naturopath Philip Robertson that said fluoride had led to asthmatic reactions in patients.

She said her 11-year-old son Sam, an asthma sufferer, had been weaned off puffers and drug solutions to asthma and fluoride could have a terrible impact on him.

Mrs Winfield said she objected to the labelling of fluoride opponents as fanatical.

“I’m not a freak, I still enjoy chocolate and have a beer, but this issue is more about the kids. Are we strange for genuinely wanting to know more about this chemical?”

Victorian Fluoride Information Network’s David McRae said the regional community has had insufficient debate about the negative health effects of fluoride

“The Victorian Department of Human services has a dedicated fluoride promotion unit, led by Dr Robert Hall which at this minute is pursuing a relentless campaign to force fluoridation upon Horsham and the Wimmera,” he said.

Mr McRae said health authorities failed to defend fluoride in public debates last year.