Fluoride Action Network

Mackay: Council faces tough decision with fluoride

Source: Mackay Daily Mercury | January 31st, 2013 | By Andrea Davy and Dominic Geiger
Location: Australia

IT’S been two years since fluoride officially started pouring into Mackay’s water supply and the contentious issue has managed to hold on by the skin of its ugly teeth.

Yesterday, the Cairns Regional Council chose to halt the flow of fluoride in their water supplies.

A Cairns Regional Council spokeswoman was reported as saying, “If you want fluoride, you should go to your dentist”.

Today members of the Mackay Regional Council will meet with State Government officials to discuss the changes to the legislation regarding the fluoride issue.

“Queensland Health put the offer out to (that) they are happy to come along to do any presentations,” Mackay Regional Council Mayor Deirdre Comerford said yesterday.

“We want to better understand the changes to the legislation this current government has made,” Cr Comerford said.

All Queensland councils were forced to switch onto fluoride in 2009, bringing them in line with states like Victoria and New South Wales, which currently have fluoridated water.

However, Mackay Regional Council can now choose to keep fluoride in the Mackay and Sarina areas and decide whether they will install equipment to facilitate fluoride in the new Marian water treatment plant.

Cr Comerford said building a new water treatment plant, which the council was doing to service residents at Marian and Mirani, had an added impact on the decision.

She said they had an opportunity they hadn’t had before, when adding fluoride was mandatory.

“You have a choice now.”

The meeting with Steve Donohue of the Public Health Unit, and Brisbane Dental School director Michael Foley will remain private.

The Mayor, councillors and senior staff members of Mackay Regional Council will attend the meeting today.

“It’s simply (about) getting ourselves informed; we will not be making a decision one way or another (today),” Cr Comerford said.


FOR dental experts Steve Donohue and Michael Foley, there is no fluoride debate.

“I’ve spent too much of my time doing general anaesthetics on kiddies and ripping out teeth,” Dr Foley, who is the director of Brisbane Dental School, said.

“It’s soul destroying stuff.

“Particularly when there is a proven, effective public health measure that will not only improve people’s dental health but save them money while we’re doing it.”

The two dental experts were in Mackay yesterday to push the cause for fluoridation with Mackay Regional Council.

Dr Donohue, who is from the Public Health Unit, said anti-fluoride activists created false hysteria by claiming fluoride was harmful.

“It worries me enormously that people can depart so much from the facts and the stakes can be very high for people’s health,” he said.

“I never thought I’d see this kind of false debate in Australia.

“This is my job, I’m proud to be a public servant, I’m proud to give the information we need in North Queensland.”

Originally from Mackay, Dr Foley drew attention to the city of Townsville, which has had fluoride in its public water system since 1964.

“We don’t need to see the level of tooth decay we are seeing,” he said.

“We grew up here and we think it’s normal. Well, to people in Townsville or to people in Sydney the level of decay we’re seeing is not normal.”


AILSA Boyden is committed to fighting fluoride.

The long-term anti-fluoride campaigner from Farleigh said there was a wealth of scientific evidence proving fluoride to be harmful.

“The advocacy of the unsafe practice of water fluoridation is irresponsible at the best of times,” Ms Boyden said.

“But when one considers the potential, and cumulative, psychotropic effects of fluorides – consumed via dentifrices, anti-inflammatories, chemotherapy, anti-viral agents, tea and many other sources – then fluoridation’s advocacy borders on the criminal.

“Over 80 communities have rejected fluoridation since 2010, a few recently in Queensland, and more than 320 have rejected it since 1990.”

Ms Boyden welcomed the decision of Cairns Regional Council yesterday to stop fluoridating the region’s water supply.

While fluoride is added to the public drinking water of nations including Australia, the USA and Canada, the practice is not used anywhere in continental Europe.

Ms Boyden said the use of fluoride as an ingredient in some mood-enhancing drugs was particularly worrying.

“Fluoride is a proven emotion and behaviour altering (psychotropic) drug,” she said.

“One merely has to Google… Celexa, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft to discover they are all fluorinated, mind-altering, anti-depressant drugs.”