Heated fluoride debate could push region to the polls

Candice Jones has a drink in Memorial Park as the debate about fluoride in town water flares.
Candice Jones has a drink in Memorial Park as the debate about fluoride in town water flares. Renee Pilcher

GYMPIE residents may be heading back to the polls sooner than expected in the wake of a push to get fluoride out of the region's water supplies.

Town water at Gympie and Tin Can Bay has been fluoridated for the past two years, but some people have moral, ethical and safety concerns about the practice, which has been common in developed countries since the 1940s.

Fluoride reduces tooth decay in children and adults.

But those opposed to it argue it may cause serious health problems, is not effective enough to justify the costs and has a dosage that cannot be precisely controlled.

Health and dental organisations worldwide have endorsed its safety and effectiveness.

Councillor Ian Petersen wants a referendum held in the Gympie region on whether or not people want our water supply fluoridated.

But his motion lost out to Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett's suggestion that the Gympie Regional Council first seek advice from health professionals and the State Government on fluoridation and whether the council is allowed to stop fluoridating under the Queensland legislation.

"I am strongly opposed to the concept of compulsory mass medication, especially in a situation such as fluoridation where the detrimental impact far outweighs the very minimal benefit," Cr Petersen said.

"There is already a background level of fluoride in most water sources and I believe the natural level is quite significant in Gympie's case.

"Adding to that level would seem to be a pointless exercise when one considers that probably in excess of 90% of that fluoridated water is used for watering gardens, washing cars and flushing toilets.

"Perhaps that is a good thing."

Cr Petersen said the council had, in the past and at very low cost, provided free fluoride tablets for people who chose to use them.

"That process avoids forcing fluoride upon our community, which in my view is a much fairer outcome," he said.

"Despite my strong and fundamental opposition to compulsory fluoridation, I believe the democratic process is best served by the above motion which gives our community the option.

"Two amendments to the local government legislation by the LNP should be noted: the Premier has suggested that some councils would be allowed to opt out.

"Gympie is not one of them but there is an indication of some flexibility. And the new legislation allows councils to conduct referenda."

While some councillors supported his idea, others were concerned at the cost of a referendum.

Others said the real issue was that Queenslanders were not given the chance to vote on compulsory fluoridation in the first place.

Cr Petersen's motion will lie on the table.

Gympie Times

Topics:  fluoridation fluoride gympie regional council health ian petersen local government

Drug driving: back pain and sentence negotiations

A flowering cannabis plant. File Photo.

Man in court for using marijuana for pain four days before driving

Hoo8Hoo hitting all the right notes

PERFECT HARMONY: Brothers Tim (left) and Sam Aitken, aka Hoo8Hoo, will be hitting the Gympie stage on Sunday afternoon for the Rush Festival concert.

Brothers Tim and Sam Aitken will be taking to the stage as Hoo8Hoo.

Hartwig questions need for sewerage restructure

Councillor Glen Hartwig.

Letter to the editor: Gympie Cr Glen Hartwig raises more concerns

Local Partners

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Salma Hayek: 'Trump planted story because I turned him down'

Actor Salma Hayek is the latest woman who says U.S presidential nominee Donald Trump acted inappropriately.

Salma Hayek latest woman to accuse Trump of misconduct

Brisbane snake catcher shows who's the Boss

Brisbane snake catcher Julia Baker returns in season two of Snake Boss.

Hit show Snake Boss is back for another season

The Summer that Melted Everything

See what happens when you invite the devil to town

Leonardo DiCaprio nearly drowned while filming

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio

Oscar winner almost drowned in Galapagos

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track