Fluoride Action Network

No-show angers debate organisers

Source: The Border Mail | February 16th, 2006 | By CHLOE BUGELLY
Location: Australia

WODONGAS anti-fluoride campaigners are angry that Victorian Government representatives failed to show up at a debate on Tuesday night.

The event was cancelled, despite two speakers having travelled from Geelong to talk about the negative impacts of fluoride.

Debate organiser Marilyn Edgar, from the Fluoride Education Awareness Team, said the no-show proved the Govern-ment couldnt substantiate |the benefits of introducing |fluoride to Wodongas water supply.

“Theyre obviously trying to side-step the issue,” Miss Edgar said.

“It was really disappointing because it was an opportunity for the Government to consult with the community and answer questions and concerns.”

Bram Alexander, a spokesman for the Department of Human Services, said the people of Wodonga had been consulted.

“We sent out over 13,000 booklets to Wodonga households and have also set up a website and 1800 number for people to vent their concerns,” he said.

Naturopath and health science lecturer Philip Robertson, who travelled from Geelong, said he wasnt surprised that Health Minister Bronwyn Pike and government health spokesman Robert Hall did not show.

“The concrete scientific evidence that fluoride is destructive is difficult to defend,” Mr Robertson said.

“In a public debate they would fall on their face.”

Mr Alexander said government representatives did not attend because the decision to fluoridate had been made.

“Dr Halls view is that debates such as these, which focus on a particular scientific value, provide no value to the community,” Mr Alexander said.

“The water in Melbourne has been fluoridated for 30 years and it has continually proven to be safe and effective, so the jurys in on fluoridation.”

David McRae, the co-founder of the Victorian Fluoride Information Network, who had also come from Geelong, said many Border dentists, who were vocal about their support for fluoride, had also not shown up to the debate.

“How can they expect the people of Wodonga to take them seriously if they dont have enough evidence to back up their claims?” he said.

Mr Alexander said communication with Border dentists had played a key role in the community consultation process.

Wodonga dentist Peter Johnstone, who supports fluoridation, said few people on his side of the argument would go to a debate organised by anti-fluoride campaigners.

“We have attended debates like that before and basically its just a forum for them to lobby,” Dr Johnstone said.