AN anti-fluoride petition signed by 21 south-west doctors has angered a State Government spokesman and sparked a speedy response from the state’s chief health officer.

The Standard reported on Monday the petition had been mailed to Department of Human Services chief health officer John Carnie.

The doctors argued in the letter it was “imprudent” to add fluoride to public water supplies until “modern data” either proved or disproved the alleged benefits of the practice.

Their petition came after south-west health organisations including South West Healthcare backed fluoridation, which the Government announced in July.

DHS spokesman Bram Alexander said discussion and debate about fluoridation was important, but there was recent scientific evidence to prove fluoridated water was safe and beneficial to people’s teeth.

“It (the petition) shows a lack of willingness (on the doctors’ behalf) to have a look and do some research themselves,” he said.

Mr Alexander said the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) made a statement in June this year that was available on the organisation’s website.

“It says, `fluoridation of drinking water remains the most effective and socially equitable means of achieving community-wide exposure to the caries prevention effects of fluoride,” he said.

“It is recommended that water be fluoridated in the target range of 0.6 – 1.1mg/l, depending on climate, to balance reduction of dental caries and occurrence of dental fluorosis.”

Australian Medical Association Victoria Branch president Doug Travis had also affirmed his support for fluoridation, Mr Alexander said.

He said Dr Carnie had replied to the signatories.

“The decision has already been made to add it (fluoride) to Warrnambool, Allansford and Koroit’s water supply and that is not likely to change,” he said.