A WARRNAMBOOL law firm is exploring legal action against the State Government on behalf of residents who have become ill because of fluoride.

Solicitor Adam Kempton is establishing a database of people who believe the introduction of public water fluoridation has triggered ailments from rashes through to kidney disease.

Mr Kempton would not specify the number of people who had registered so far.

He said the evidence could lead to individual or class action against the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Wannon Water.

The DHS announced in mid-2007 that fluoride would be added to the water supplies of Warrnambool, Allansford and Koroit.

The chemical entered the water supply in September last year following passionate debate and a community referendum on the issue.

“This whole debate has been about conflicting scientific evidence and there are experts not only in Australia but the world, who will swear…how fluoride worsens certain people’s medical conditions,” Mr Kempton said.

“At the lowest level, there’s expert opinion either way.”

The database is being collected in conjunction with the community-driven Fluoride Action Group.

There would be consequences if a court found the State Government’s view that fluoride caused no harm to be wrong, Mr Kempton said.

“Assembling these people is about holding water authorities and the State Government to account for actions they take.”

Wannon Water has claimed it was only following a DHS directive in building a fluoride dosing plant but Mr Kempton claims the water authority could have objected to the order.

Wannon Water marketing and communications manager Annette Cannon declined to comment yesterday.

DHS spokesman Bram Alexander said the department was aware of the legal firm’s call for residents to come forward.

He said it was Government policy to extend fluoridation to areas “that did not enjoy the benefits of fluoride”.

“It’s our belief that fluoridation of drinking water supplies is safe and effective,” he said.