Fluoride still debated
THE Federal Government has dismissed a push to force the North Burnett to re-add fluoride to it water supply.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has heard from six peak health bodies calling on the department to force councils to embrace the scheme.
North Burnett Council (NBRC) removed fluoride from Gayndah, Mundubbera and Monto water supplies on March 29.
“There is clear evidence that, on balance, fluoridation is very good for oral and dental health.”
voted to discontinue the addition of fluoride based on community feedback, including a petition received by NBRC on June 7, 2011.
After it was first mandated by the former Queensland Labor government, the newly elected LNP government gave councils the final say.
NBRC was joined by South Burnett, Fraser Coast, Cairns and Doomadgee councils in removing fluoride.
National Rural Health Alliance – which has 34 member organisations including the Royal Flying Doctor Service – called for the Federal Government to directly intervene.
NRHA executive director Gordon Gregory likened fluoridated water to seatbelts in terms of social benefit.
“There is clear evidence that, on balance, fluoridation is very good for oral and dental health and it has a great equity about it,” he said.
“Aside from visits to private dentists, it reaches the poorest and worst-off people in the community.
“The science shows it will protect the next generation of kids.”
North Burnett mayor Don Waugh said fluoride was a waste due to high levels of rainwater tank usage across the region.
“The fluoridated water was being used for washing cars and watering the lawn,” Cr Waugh said.
A representative for the Health Minister said it was up to the Queensland Government to step in because it was the one responsible for allowing communities to remove it.
Ms Plibersek’s office released figures showing for every dollar spent on adding fluoride to water, the savings in health care ranged between $12 and $80 depending on the health of the community.