D-DAY for Toowoomba’s water fluoridation debate is just days away with councillors preparing to vote on Tuesday whether to retain the program.
Cr Nancy Sommerfield is leading a campaign to switch off the current system and has urged fellow councillors to follow her.
“This is about the fact that 98 per cent of the fluoridated water goes down the drain,” she said.
“I believe there is evidence that fluoride does help prevent tooth decay, but because it is so controversial it should not be put into the water supply.”
The declaration flies in the face of advice from Australian Dental Association council member and Toowoomba dentist Dr Rob Sivertsen, who has implored council not to ditch its current arrangements.
The decision was handed back to councils in November last year when the State Government renounced its own jurisdiction on the controversial issue.
“I was gobsmacked that the Newman Government reversed what was a good decision by the previous government,” he said.
While he acknowledged Toowoomba’s current system was not flawless, with many households receiving less than the recommended dosage, Dr Sivertsen said it was better to benefit some residents than none at all.
“Even though you don’t have a perfect arrangement, the last thing you want to do is make it non-existent,” he said.
Cr Bill Cahill said he was steadfastly opposed to water fluoridation and would vote accordingly.
“The fact is that with everything else that council imposes, people have a degree of choice,” he said.
“People don’t have a choice whether they will want to drink water or not.”
Dr Sivertsen said the proof of fluoride’s success was plain to see.
“You often look into a mouth of a patient you haven’t seen before and (realise) either they did not grow up in Toowoomba, or they had (another source of ) fluoride in their diet as a youngster,” he said.
“You can see it straight away.”