Cr Ian Petersen
Cr Ian Petersen

Fluoride ban brushed off

THE fluoride debate was back on the table at the Town Hall yesterday.

Once again the move to have it taken out of the Gympie and Tin Can Bay water supplies fell flat.

Last year, the State Government granted local councils the power to make their own decision on fluoridation.

The issue has lain on the table since it was first debated by the Gympie Regional Council in December last year.

Councillor Ian Petersen wanted it taken out of the town water supply there and then, but the council voted to make no decision until it heard from the experts on both sides of the debate.

Cr Petersen had the backing of only one other councillor yesterday - Julie Walker - when he labelled the fluoridation of town water "mass medication" and said it was against the Local Government Act to continue to "mass medicate" the Gympie and Tin Can Bay residents without the "informed consent of the community".

Cr Rae Gate voted with Cr Petersen and Cr Walker when they moved the community be consulted on whether or not the Gympie and Tin Can Bay water supplies should continue to be fluoridated.

"You can sugar coat it all you want but its mass medication," Cr Petersen said.

Several councillors spoke on the issue, saying they had listened to presentations and "been pressured" from both sides of the argument but had come to the final conclusion that things should be left as they are.

Cr Walker was the only one to agree with Cr Petersen, despite pressure from within her own family in support of fluoridation.

"To me it is a chemical we are forcing on to people," she said.

Cr Mick Curran said vaccinations could also be considered a chemical but they, and fluoridation, were both recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Fluoride will be removed from the Fraser Coast's water supply at the end of the month because of high costs.

It costs $8000 a year to maintain in the Gympie region and Mayor Ron Dyne said it was clear the health benefits outweighed the cost.

"I've seen the results from other towns where fluoride has been in the town's water system for some time and I support the dental foundation that fluoride in the water is very good," he said.

"The pro side of things is the health of teeth in individuals and certainly that's supported by the State Government department and all of the dental organisations."

The council decision follows a presentation from Queensland Health doctors at a council "workshop" in January on the health benefits of fluoridation, followed by a presentation earlier this month from members of Queenslanders for Safe Water, Air and Food Inc on their concerns regarding the practice.

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