Several weeks ago there was a resolution adopted in Lithgow Council calling for a public meeting to be arranged as ‘a matter of urgency’ to enable district residents to have their say on the issue of fluoridation of the water supply in the Council area.
‘Matter of urgency’ is also clearly a ‘matter of interpretation’ as a date has now been set for the meeting almost two months after the decision was made in Council.
The meeting will be held in the Union Theatre next Monday night at seven o’clock.
There was lengthy discussion on the fluoride issue at the September of meeting of Council with submissions from various professional sources supporting fluoridation before Council decided on a public meeting to assess opinion, as happened with the jail proposal earlier in the year.
At the Council meeting health professionals said that Lithgow children had a far greater incidence of dental problems than their counterparts in areas where fluoride was added to the water supply, including the neighbouring Blue Mountains.
“It brings us to tears to realise there are children growing up in Lithgow thinking that toothache is a normal part of life,” one dental therapist from Lithgow Hospital told the meeting.
It was also stated that 92 per cent of the population of NSW had a fluoridated water supply and Lithgow was one of only 23 centres with a population of more than 1000 that does not treat its water.
The NSW Government supports fluoridation to the extent of meeting the full cost of infrastructure.
Also supporting fluoridation are the Australian Medical Association, Australian Dental Association, and World Health Organisation.
Two surveys, one by health authorities and another by the Western Research Institute, have also indicated public support for fluoridation in Greater Lithgow.
Most of the opposition to fluoridation has been coming into Lithgow from an active lobby group based in Queensland.
When the issue was debated in Council Mayor Neville Castle used his casting vote to decide for the public meeting being held.
This broke a deadlock between Councillors seeking the meeting and those seeking no action either way.
The action was a repeat of what happened in Council when fluoridation was on the agenda back in 1962.
On that occasion 45 years ago the then Mayor Jim Robson used his casting vote to reject the bid for fluoridation.
He said later that his decision was based on financial rather than health considerations.
He did not believe the Council could afford the cost of treating the water at that time.