QUEENSLANDERS have voiced their overwhelming disapproval of fluoridating water supplies.
The results of a Sunday Mail online poll found three in four people did not want fluoride in their water.
Following a report looking at the pros and cons of fluoridation in The Sunday Mail last week, more than 500 people voted.
A spokesman for Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said the issue of fluoridating water supplies was a “poisoned chalice”.
He said a previous poll of Brisbane residents in 1997 was funded by the Liberal Party and conducted by an independent research company. It found 66 per cent of respondents wanted fluoridated water, with 34 per cent against.
“At this stage council doesn’t have any plans to fluoridate. It’s very much still in the stages of getting information on the issue,” the spokesman said.
“There will be some form of gauging the public’s view on this. Obviously, we wouldn’t progress if there wasn’t a clear indication from the community that they were in support of it.”
Up to 70 per cent of Australians drink fluoridated water. However, only 5 per cent of Queensland’s water is fluoridated.
Australian Dental Association president David Houghton said he was surprised at the poll result.
“It is against the trend that we are noticing in unfluoridated areas where community after community is voting in favour of fluoridation,” he said. “I’m surprised people in Queensland and in Brisbane aren’t saying, ‘We need this to protect our children’s teeth’.”
Professionals Against Water Fluoridation chairman John Ryan, whose organisation represents 1500 Australian doctors, dentists and scientists, said the public needed to be properly informed on the issue.
“It’s a public health issue and the public deserve to be educated,” he said. “People need to be given the information and they need to have input. We find when they are educated on fluoride, they vote against it.”
Many of poll respondents said they wanted the right to choose whether they ingested fluoride.
“I have multiple chemical sensitivities and adding fluoride to the water could be extremely detrimental to my health,” said one respondent.
“If people think fluoride can give their teeth protection against decay, there are tablets and drops available. Perhaps these could be provided by the local councils instead of fluoridating the water supply.”
Another said: “We call this a democratic society. I thought this was supposed to mean we could make our own choices.”
Another respondent said she would be making a claim for the cost of buying fluoride-free water if fluoridation went ahead.
“I am very concerned that anyone would even think about taking away people’s right to choose what we would like to consume,” she said. “I believe as a ratepayer I should not have to pay to poison myself.”