THE CONTROVERSIAL debate about adding fluoride to the water supply of Kempsey and Crescent Head has again raised eyebrows in pockets of the community, with one local organisation strongly opposed to the plan.
Last week the Macleay Argus reported that the Crescent Head water supply, which is a bore water supply, was originally earmarked to receive fluoridation in December 2015. However, the State Government has asked council to concentrate on the fluoridation of the Kempsey supply before Crescent Head (which could now be at least another seven years from fluoridation).
But the flagged delay hasn’t appeased long-term opponents of adding fluoride to the water, the Crescent Head Ratepayers’ Association.
“There is a high proportion of people with kidney disease in the Kempsey area and adding fluoride to the water supply markedly increases an individual’s susceptibility to fluoride toxicity,” association president Mark Baxter said.
“Fluoridation is not necessary. Most western, industrialised countries have rejected water fluoridation, but have nevertheless experienced the same decline in childhood dental decay as fluoridated countries.
“There have been numerous reports of severe dental crises in low-income neighbourhoods of US cities that have been fluoridated for over 20 years.
“Research has repeatedly found fluoridation to be ineffective at preventing the most serious oral health problem facing poor children, namely ‘baby bottle tooth decay’, otherwise known as early childhood caries.”
Mr Baxter has asked council by letter to not fluoridate the water supply to Kempsey and Crescent Head.
“Why should the community pay for the introduction of fluoride considering the information available on the negative implications,” Mr Baxter said.
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“We feel there must be an oversight regarding the introduction of this product into the water supplies and request that the medicating of our water supply with the fluoride waste by-product cease.”
In response Ratepayers’ Association letter, council director of infrastructure services, Robert Scott, referred them to NSW Health promotional material, Water Fluoridation: Questions and Answers, and said the issue of fluoridation of water supplies within the Kempsey Shire was considered by council in 2004.
“Following debate and consideration of the matter, the council resolved to refer the matter to the Director General of NSW Health on the basis that it relates to public health,” Mr Scott said.
“The Director General of NSW Health received advice from the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee, following referral of the matter by the council, recommending that water fluoridation be commenced in the water supplies of South West Rocks, Crescent Head and Kempsey/Lower Macleay.
“Council was subsequently directed by the Director General of NSW Health to commence fluoridation of those supply systems. Council is now bound to comply with the directive that has been given. Any failure by council to comply with the directive is an offence under the Act.”
The Steuart Macintyre Dam supplies water to Kempsey, down to Jerseyville, as well as Frederickton and Clybucca. Council is currently moving to add fluoride and chlorine to the system, by December this year.