KURANDA dad Clayton Grove says it is the fear of the unknown that concerns him most about having fluoride added to his family’s drinking water.
“It’s forced medication really,” he said.
Mr Grove and his daughter Lani, 2, were among a group of about 50 Kuranda residents who met at Centenary Park yesterday armed with drums to protest against the fluoridation of the area’s drinking water.
Rallies of similar size were also held at Malanda and Yungaburra yesterday, in a region-wide protest.
Mr Grove remains sceptical about the advertised health benefits of fluoridation.
“What about for families who use baby formula, what is the correct amount for a baby and how do you know if it’s more than enough?” Mr Grove said.
“I drink a lot of water so how will I know if I’m having too much and what will it do to your body?”
Tablelands Regional Council Mayor Rosa Lee Long, who attended the Malanda rally, had good news for the protesters.
She said Local Government Minister David Crisafulli had committed to taking the issue to Cabinet and had indicated he was confident the decision-making process on fluoride would be returned to local councils.
The previous Labor Government was a supporter of introducing fluoride to water supplies.
“We’re hoping to have the ruling overturned for Kuranda, Malanda and Atherton so we don’t have to put fluoride in the water, so that’s good news,” she said.
“I’m very encouraged, in my conversation with him he was quite confident he would be able to put our case forward.”
While Cairns and Mareeba have fluoridated water, Cr Lee Long said halting the process for the rest of the Tableland would save the State Government $3 million from the upgrade of the Atherton water plant.
Organiser of the Kuranda rally, Sjoerd Aardema, said he was buoyed by the community support.
“There’s three towns drumming and I think it’s the first time that has happened on the Tablelands where three towns at the same time have voiced their stance on any issue,” he said.
Tablelands Against Fluoridation founder Hannah Wattel said the drums were used to “wake up” people about the issue.
“People need to be woken up to find out what’s happening,” she said.
“We don’t want it in our water because it’s unethical, uneconomical and toxic.”
Queensland Health’s acting Chief Health Officer, Prof Jagmohan Gilhotra told The Cairns Post that more than 150 major health organisations around the world endorsed water fluoridation.
Queensland was progressively coming into line with other Australian states and territories in introducing fluoridation as a safe and effective way of reducing tooth decay, he said.
He said that fluoridation implementation was based on credible scientific evidence and public need but “many myths and falsehoods have been circulated”.
Want to know more? The Australian Dental Association website has a question and answer document on its website at www.ada.org.au/oralhealth