A NATIONAL research council have released a draft statement supporting fluoridation of drinking water, and have asked for public feedback on the document.
In this statement National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) strongly recommends community water fluoridation as a safe, effective and ethical way to help reduce tooth decay across the population. NHMRC supports Australian states and territories fluoridating their drinking water supplies within the range of 0.6 to 1.1 milligrams per litre (mg/L).
Following a thorough review of the evidence, NHMRC confirms that adjusting the natural level of fluoride in drinking water supplies helps to reduce tooth decay for all Australians. They state the benefits of community water fluoridation in reducing and preventing tooth decay are supported by more than 60 years of research.
NHMRC said the studies they reviewed show community water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by 26 to 44% in children, teenagers and adults.
They claim community water fluoridation is seen as one of the top public health achievements. It has been approved by major health organisations in Australia and internationally, including the Australian Medical Association, Australian Dental Association, World Health Organization and World Dental Federation.
NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO said: “NHMRC found no reliable evidence that community water fluoridation at current Australian levels causes health problems.
“Studies implying harms from water fluoridation are largely from overseas countries that have much higher levels of fluoride than the levels used in Australia, and were done in ways which make their results scientifically unreliable.
“Despite the backing of a substantial body of scientific evidence, about 10 per cent of the Australian population live in areas without water fluoridation.
“Health authorities, which decide whether water will be fluoridated or not, should be assured that NHMRC recommends community water fluoridation as a safe, effective and ethical way to help reduce tooth decay.”
The aims of public consultation on the draft Public Statement are to obtain feedback on:
- whether the information is presented in a format and manner that is useful and easy to understand
- whether the ‘NHMRC statement’ is clearly justified
- options for disseminating the Public Statement once finalised.
NHMRC invites the public to make a submission through its online public consultation portal. Consultation closes on August 3, 2017.