HASTINGS Council should listen to the people when considering the fluoride debate.

That’s the opinion of Dennis Stevenson who outlined his “pro-choice” stance of fluoridation at a Hastings Council workshop on Monday night.

The region’s 1991 referendum gave a very clear indication about the people’s views, he said.

“Logically the only reason anyone can reconsider that is if there was evidence of a major change by the majority of people in this electorate.”

Mr Stevenson, who served on the ACT Legislative Assembly, has researched fluoridation for 30 years.

He issued a dissenting report to an ACT Government inquiry listing more than 1000 professional people who opposed fluoridation.

“Anyone who wants the entire population to take fluoride is against freedom of choice,” Mr Stevenson said. “Only parents have the right to decide what drug they or their children take ˆ end of debate.”

But University of NSW School of Rural Health senior lecturer in paediatrics and paediatrician Dr David McDonald hit back at the anti-fluoride argument, saying fluoride was not a drug but it occurred naturally.

“The level of dental health on the Mid-North Coast is just a disgrace,” he said.

“It’s not normal for kids to have holes in their teeth.

“The evidence in favour of fluoridation is overwhelmingly compelling.”

Dr McDonald believes fluoridation is a public health issue, and as such the council should refer the decision to the appropriate public health authority for consideration.

“Fluoridation is a public health issue in the same way immunisation is,” he said.

“Fluoridation would substantially improve dental health of everyone in the community, especially children.”

The councillors have also heard from Ray Danton during Monday’s workshop.

The Mid-North Coast Area Health Service and health professionals have already stated their case.

The council will consider the fluoridation issue at its Monday meeting.

Pro-choice: Dennis Stevenson has appealed to the council to listen to the community over the fluoride debate.