EXPERTS in chemistry, dental science and environmental engineering will address the community’s concerns about fluoride during an online forum today.
Journalists will fire off questions on behalf of their readers and the answers will later appear on the web for all to see at www.aussmc.org.
The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC), an independent body, has organised the briefing to discuss the science of fluoridation and examine the basis of concerns about the practice.
Around the 10.30am starting time for the briefing, fluoride will have started flowing into Mackay’s water supply.
Residents of Rockhampton and Cairns will also start drinking fluoridised water within the week. Queensland is the last state in Australia to fluoridate its water supplies, introducing the Water Fluoridation Bill in early 2008. Under the legislation, public water suppliers who supply water to more than 1000 people must add fluoride.
AusSMC chief executive officer Dr Susannah Eliott said the briefing would be too expensive to open up to the public but would be posted online shortly afterwards.
Dr Eliott said the aim of the briefing on the fluoridation of northern Queensland’s water supply was to inform.
“There has been little debate in the scientific research community,” she said. “The briefing is to address people’s concerns with as much info science as we can.”
Four experts will answer questions from journalists about fluoride. They are:
Dr Stuart Khan, senior research fellow at the UNSW Water Research Centre at the university of New South Wales. He will answer questions about what fluoride is and what levels are safe for human consumption.
Associate Professor Mark Gussy, deputy head of the School of Dentistry and Oral Health at La Trobe University, who is an expert on the impact fluoride can have on adults’ and children’s dental health.
Professor Colin Rix, adjunct professor of Applied Chemistry at RMIT, who can explain what happens to fluoride once it’s in the body.
Aus SMC was still confirming the fourth speaker yesterday.
About today’s briefing:
Four experts will cover fluoride related topics including impact on dental health, metabolism in the body, water quality and safe levels, and the ethics of adding it to water
From 10.30am, the presenters will each speak for five to seven minutes before answering journalists’ questions