BETTY Jenkins has had a debilitating bowel disorder for more than 25 years.
But she said her condition had deteriorated further since fluoride was added to Warrnambool’s water supply.
Mrs Jenkins, 82, is one of several residents who have registered their ailments with local solicitor Adam Kempton as he prepares for a possible class action against the State Government.
Mrs Jenkins, a long-time fluoride opponent, was diagnosed with diverticulitus about 28 years ago. The condition occurs when small defects in the muscle of the wall of the large intestine or colon allow small pockets to form and become infected, according to a Health Department website.
Fluoride was added to the water supplies of Warrnambool, Allansford and Koroit by September on the direction of the Department of Human Services, on the basis that it offered dental health benefits.
Opponents claim the chemical causes a range of medical conditions, from skin rashes to kidney disease and brittle bones.
Mrs Jenkins said her bowel condition left her seriously bloated, with other symptoms including lower abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation.
It used to emerge every two to eight weeks but, during November and December last year, “it was almost constant”, she said.
The condition continues to cause her more regular discomfort than in previous years, she said.
“Stress, they say, can bring it on and I’m stressed because of fluoride,” she said. “I can go to bed for a day-and-a-half. It’s very uncomfortable, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”
Mrs Jenkins came forward after Mr Kempton advertised for residents who thought their ailments had been caused or aggravated by fluoride to contact him. Mr Kempton is establishing the database in conjunction with the Fluoride Action Group.
He said the number of people who had contacted him was “in the teens” and “growing at the rate of two or three a day” and if enough evidence was presented, he hoped to pursue the DHS and Wannon Water for compensation.
The DHS has said it was aware of Mr Kempton’s appeal.