Fluoride Action Network

Last-minute arguments made for and against Southern Downs’ water fluoridation

Source: ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | October 31st, 2014 | By Fidelis Rego
Location: Australia

A ballot deciding the future of fluoridation of water supplies on Queensland’s Southern Downs will close today.

Both sides of the debate are making last-minute pitches to ratepayers.

The Save Our Shires Group petitioned the Southern Downs council to stop fluoridating water supplies in towns like Warwick, Stanthorpe and Allora.

Instead, the council has put the issue to ratepayers in a survey.

Save Our Shires’ chairman Bob Johnson said the practice should not be allowed to continue.

“The equity and the cost of it but also a lot of people were concerned about the forced medication issue,” he said.

He said residents should be given the choice of whether fluoride was added to their water.

“We were more concerned about the fact that only 2 per cent of the water is ingested and the cost of it, the total cost is probably 10 times as much than what council has indicated in terms of depreciation of equipment and all that sort of thing,” he said.

The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service has weighed into the debate.

Principal dentist Dr David Griffiths said it was one of the most effective public health measures in the past century.

“Fluoride in the water does in fact make the teeth much more resistant to tooth decay,” he said.

He stopping the practice would be a bad idea.

“[We have] become a little bit complacent about tooth decay as a country now, we don’t see people being hospitalised anything like that as much from major dental infections and we don’t see that many deaths from infections,” he said.

“Going back to the ’30s and ’40s [in] Australia it was quite a common cause of death in the 18-24 year olds.”

The survey result is expected to be declared next week.