Fluoride Action Network

Toowoomba: Fluoride flows into city today

Source: The Chronicle (Toowoomba) | March 31st, 2010 | By John Farmer
Location: Australia

FLUORIDE flows into city households today with the long overdue yet flawed scheme getting the tick of approval from a Toowoomba dentist.

Dr Rob Sivertsen, an Australian Dental Association of Queensland councillor, said benefits of fluoridated water would be almost immediate, particularly in the areas where the full, consistent dose would be administered.

“Fluoride toothpaste has been the most effective way of getting fluoride to everybody, but the reality is water fluoridation has the most effective benefit across the board,” he said.

“Even for people who are doing the right thing, this is another tool in their armament against tooth decay.”

But Dr Sivertsen said the scheme was far from ideal with only 25 per cent of Toowoomba homes to get the correct dose.

The shortfall is the result of the city’s complex water supply network, with the State Government only agreeing to fluoridate water that goes through the Mt Kynoch treatment plant.

The bores that make up 40% of the city’s supply have not been touched.

“At the moment, most residents don’t know who’s going to get fluoride,” Dr Sivertsen said.

Deputy Mayor Paul Antonio said the new fluoridation plant was ready to be operating from today.

“Some residents will receive the full recommended dose of 0.8 milligrams per litre of fluoride while others will get less than that because their water supply is a blend of Mt Kynoch water and water from the non-fluoridated basalt bores around the city,” he said.

Mandatory fluoridation has been a point of contention in Toowoomba since it was legislated by the State Government in 2008.

Eloise Harmon, who has three children, said fluoride should not be forced upon people.

“Personally, I think it’s something people should be able to choose,” she said.

“If they feel passionately about it, they can give their children fluoride drops.”

But mother of one Andrea Burton, who was raised in Canada where fluoridation is commonplace, supports the scheme.

“I’m in favour of it because it helps keep teeth strong and prevents cavities that can be quite costly.”

Toowoomba’s target dose of 0.8 milligrams of fluoride per litre is about half the allowable level of fluoride as per the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

In addition to Toowoomba, the system supplies water to Oakey, Jondaryan, Kingsthorpe, Gowrie Junction, Meringandan and Goombungee.

Further information is available at the Queensland Health website or by calling 1343 2584.