SOUTH East Queensland residents rallied outside Parliament House on Tuesday to oppose the introduction of fluoridated and recycled water.
The protest, organised by Queenslanders for Safe Water, Air and Food Inc, coincided with the first parliamentary session for the year.
The State Government has been adding fluoride to drinking supplies in most parts of South East Queensland since December in a bid to improve children’s dental health.
Redland City water is not yet fluoridated but the government is due to begin adding the substance at local water treatment plants from the end of 2009 as part of the statewide rollout.
Premier Anna Bligh’s decision to introduce fluoride has won applause from the Australian Dental Association and Australian Medical Association, but continues to be condemned by anti-fluoride protesters who have raised serious concerns over health risks and the practice of “mass medication”.
The Bligh Government also plans to add purified recycled water sourced from the sewerage network to Brisbane’s Wivenhoe Dam if dam levels drop below 40 per cent – a process the government says is safe.
Redland City residents continue to drink water from Leslie Harrison Dam and North Stradbroke Island, but a new pipeline now connects the area to the regional water grid.
Cleveland-based fluoride campaigner Bill Snoddy, who was unable to attend Tuesday’s protest but has been collecting signatures for a petition in the Redlands, said he believed in freedom of choice.
Mr Snoddy said some 500 or 600 people had already signed his petition, which calls on Redland City Council to stand up to the State Government on the fluoride issue on the behalf of residents.
The Cleveland resident said he had been encouraged by the positive response he had received to his petition in central Cleveland and predicted he may exceed his target of 5000 signatures.
“I just stand there and they come to me,” Mr Snoddy said.
“Democracy is not dead, I hope.”
Ms Bligh has previously described Queensland as the state with the worst teeth in the country and said fluoride was “backed by an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence and long-term use around the world”.