IPSWICH residents are calling for the controversial additive fluoride to be removed from the city’s drinking water, a Queensland Times poll has revealed.
Three hundred QT readers responded to an online poll asking if Ipswich’s drinking water should contain added fluoride, with a resounding 68% responding “no”.
Ipswich City Council was handed the power to remove fluoride after changes to legislation and a push from LNP Government MPs.
While debate is raging in the community, anti-fluoride campaigners and academics are at odds in assessing the effects of the chemical.
The director of the University of Queensland’s National Research Centre for Environment Toxicology, Professor Matt Lang, said fluoride posed no real health risks.
In his own opinion, Prof Lang said even in amounts hundreds of times greater than that in Ipswich’s water supply, fluoride was not toxic.
“It’s not toxic. It’s not a dangerous chemical, that would be a reasonable statement,” he said.
“If there was any issue in that fluoride was toxic, the World Health Organisation and many overseas health boards would remove it from their water supply.”
Prof Lang said consuming the chemicals used to treat water were of more concern to him.
“If I was seriously concerned about the quality of drinking water I would be worried about lots of other things that are introduced to water.”
Anti-fluoride campaigners Queenslanders For Safe Water, Air and Food spokesperson Merilyn Haines said councils should be doing one thing – removing fluoride from drinking water.
“Our focus is it’s mass medication. Saying that it isn’t is lying,” she said.
“Fluoride is the only thing that is put into the water that isn’t for treating it. Fluoride is put in to medicate.
“If people want fluoride they have fluoride in toothpaste and mouth wash.”
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has called for all the facts that were presented to the Bligh government when it introduced the chemical to the drinking water supply in 2008 to be released.
“The people just want to know if it’s dangerous,” he said.
“I’m trying to get all facts and then put them before the public. I’ve got to work with six other local government authorities.”
Cr Pisasale said the cost of stopping fluoride and infrastructure would have to be considered before a decision was made.