Gympie Regional Council is one of 24 left in Queensland which still fluoridate their town water supply.
Gympie Regional Council is one of 24 left in Queensland which still fluoridate their town water supply. Brett Wortman

No plans to scrap fluoride in Gympie water supply

THE Gympie region is one of only a handful of local authorities in Queensland that still fluoridates its public water supply.

Mackay and Gladstone councils recently decided to stop fluoridating their water, prompting concerns from dental experts that "extremist" anti-fluoride groups were pressuring regional councils to stop adding the element to their water.

Gympie is now one of only 24 councils out of Queensland's 77 that still actively adds fluoride to its town water.

Mayor Mick Curran said today there were no plans to change any of that and that GRC had not had any recent pressure from the anti-fluoride lobby.

Gympie region's northern neighbour, the Fraser Coast Council, made the decision to stop fluoridating three years ago, prompting recent calls for it to reconsider its "misguided" decision.

Australian Dental Association Queensland Branch Dr Michael Foley said the Fraser Coast Council had not consulted expert groups on the vote to remove fluoride from its water supply in 2013.

More than 150 major health organisations including the World Health Organisation, the Australian Medical Association, and the Australian Dental Association support water fluoridation.

Dr Foley, who urged Fraser Coast to reconsider its position in 2014, said it was a misguided decision.

"It's disappointing that they didn't obtain the briefing at the time. It is their right, but it surprised us," he said.

"More than 20 councils took up the opportunity to remove fluoridation after the Newman government gave rights back to local government (in 2012)... to control fluoridation."

Council passed the motion to remove fluoride from it's water supply in an 8-3 vote in 2013, after extended community consultation on the issue.

Dr Foley maintained the Fraser Coast Regional Council had been "inundated" with material from anti-fluoridation lobby groups, being one of the many councils subject to the campaign since the Newman state government opted to give the rights back to local government to allow them to control fluoridation.

He maintained that this wasn't an area where the science is divided.

"The evidence is irrefutable - the Chief Health Officer has said before 'there are not many things in medicine that are black and white; this is one of them,'" Dr Foley said.

"Every health department in Australia strongly urges communities to fluoridate their water supplies...[and] no reputable health authority opposes water fluoridation.

"Councils should not be making these decisions; based on their lack of scientific and medical expertise. Major expertise lies at state and federal levels, based on recommendations from experts."

The efforts of anti-fluoride groups was corroborated by Cr Darren Everard, who said there was a "consolidated push" from members of the public.

Asked whether he would reconsider his position on water fluoridation 3 years on, Mayor Chris Loft said he would not, stating his "position remains the same."

Cr Daniel Sanderson, who voted for the removal based on community feedback, said he could reconsider "depending on the benefits."

"I could possibly consider it if there are strong facts about it, but there are always two sides to the story," he said.

Cr Rolf Light, who voted against the motion, stood by his position and the scientific evidence.

"There's a lot of misleading information about it," he said.

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