The Somerset Regional Council has decided to continue fluoridating the region’s water supplies.

Last year the Queensland Government passed legislation allowing local governments to opt out of the state system, on the condition they pay for changes to the distribution network.

“One of the reasons we decided to stay with fluoridisation is the cost of opting out,” says Mayor Graeme Lehmann.”The thing about our water supply is that it doesn’t just supply our region. It also supplies other regions around us. So if someone wants to opt out, and someone wants to stay in, there’s all those things to look at.”

“It’s not just as simple as switching off an injection machine.”

The mayor says the council consulted medical groups before making the decision.

“I haven’t had anyone contact me that’s been dead-against fluoride. It’s been used for quite a few years. According to the Dental Association of Queensland, they think the benefits far outweigh the cost.”

Toowoomba based dentist Dr Rob Sivertsen welcomes the decision, and hopes other local councils follow-suit.

“It’s absolutely fantastic. Most of Australia has been fluoridated for many years.”

He says the state government’s decision to allow councils to opt out of the system sends a “mixed message” about the use of fluoride. “It’s an excellent cost effective means of reducing dental decay substantially.”

“For many years Queensland was the only state that didn’t have significant areas that were fluoridated.”

“I would urge other councils not to do anything rash. We appreciate there would be some costs in removing the infrastructure. But having fought so long to get it into place, and now in a situation where the benefits are starting to flow, it would seem absolutely ridiculous to remove it. It would go completely against the grain of advice from both the dental profession and the medical profession at large,” Dr Rob Sivertsen says.