Chlorine critics support latest expert advice
CRITICS of the decision to introduce chlorine into the Douglas water supply say they have been vindicated by recent advice from international consultants indicating it was not necessary.
Retired Mossman pharmacist John Anich was among those who argued chlorine was not the only means of guaranteeing a clean and safe water supply but he says he was ignored by Queensland Health.
He seized on preliminary results from Black and Veatch which showed UV filtration of water was a viable and safe alternative to chlorination of the water supply.
“I told them 18 months ago how to filter water and keep it clean without chlorine,” Mr Anich said. “But (Queensland Health) did not even turn up to the meeting and they were absent again at the last (water reference group) meeting when we were heard expert opinion.
“The whole system needs to be changed so they listen to people. I’ve lived here for 77 years. I am only a farmer, mechanic and pharmacist - I guess I’m not qualified enough to be taken seriously.”
But Queensland Health said it was only the second time since the water group’s inception in 2008 a representative had not been able to attend and instead, senior officers had earlier attended a “productive, half-day” meeting with the consultants.
Tropical Regional Services senior director Brad McCulloch said at the meeting, Queensland Health had reiterated it was “open” to a chlorine free trial.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the consultants and the council in moving towards a chlorine-free trial, while maintaining a safe water supply at all times,” Mr McCulloch said.
“We have communicated clearly with Cairns Regional Council that we are supportive of a chlorine-free trial as long as they can manage the public health risk while doing so.”
Mr Anich also accused the State Government of allowing fluoride tablets to be prematurely phased out by suppliers in anticipation of the state-wide introduction of fluoridation of water supplies. He said he demanded answers after stock ran out at his Mossman pharmacy in January 2009.
State legislation requires public water suppliers to add fluoride to the water under its control by December 31. CRC has delayed its initial plan to start fluoridation from last week and has written to Premier Anna Bligh requesting a two year deferment.