QUEENSLAND’S Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has stepped into a political minefield, imploring local governments to fluoridate their water supplies.
She says the move by councils would be for the benefit of ratepayers’ health.
Under the Bligh Government, 87 per cent of the state had fluoride in its water supply and plans were under way in other areas to introduce it, except where strict exemptions applied because of issues such as natural levels in drinking water.
But the LNP gave councils the power to decide.
Although Dr Young said she had no problem with the Newman Government’s decision, she was worried councils would be swayed by the anti-fluoride lobby.
The lobby includes the LNP’s Member for Nudgee, Jason Woodforth, who last month described fluoride as “brain-altering stuff”.
Dr Young hit back yesterday, saying she had written to every local government in Queensland, offering to discuss the health benefits.
“I want to be proactive because I think that the anti-fluoride lobby has got an extraordinary loud voice and can say absolute rubbish,” she said.
“Fluoride in drinking water is absolutely essential for good oral health,” she said.
“The evidence is irrefutable and only the extremely misinformed could think otherwise.
“In medicine, there aren’t many things that are absolutely black and white. This is one of them.
“It’s been around in Australia since 1964. If there were any problems, we would have seen them.”
Dr Young said letters to Queensland Health from the anti-fluoride lobby blamed adding the mineral to drinking water for everything from obesity and depression to “interference with the male reproductive system”.
One letter obtained by The Courier-Mail says: “A significant number of studies have shown a lowering of IQ in children exposed to fluoride.”
She accused anti-fluoride campaigners of “scare-mongering”.
“There is no evidence to show fluoride, in the amounts used in water supplies, has detrimental health effects,” she said.
State chief dental officer Rhys Thomas backed Dr Young.
“Fluoride is proven to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay,” he said.
“Australian child dental health surveys consistently show that Queensland children have levels of tooth decay well above the national average.
“The use of fluoride is one way of turning this around.”