Council calls in fluoride expert at last minute

COUNCIL'S first and only meeting with health experts has been left until the eve of its final decision on whether to maintain fluoride in our drinking supply.

Why the wait?

The decision has been in council's lap for more than two months since it was handed back from the State Government on November 29.

Queensland Health's principal dentist Dr Michael Foley has been enlisted at the last minute to address council on Monday, less than 24 hours before the program's fate is sealed.

His pro-fluoride views are well documented.

Individual councillors sought their own advice and opinion in the lead-up to Tuesday's "yes" vote.

However, the lack of formal counsel sufficiently worried Cr Geoff McDonald for him to state at the meeting, "I'm worried ... that we don't have that information before we make the decision".

Reader poll

Did council wait too long to get expert advice on the fluoride issue?

This poll ended on 14 March 2013.

Yes - 73%

No - 26%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Toowoomba dentist and Australian Dental Association council member Rob Sivertsen was equally concerned.

"I don't sit in a lecture one day and start using that information the next day," he said. "I go and mull things over.

"If I have the slightest doubt, I will go out and do more research myself.

"There has been a lot of time for them to do their research."

Councillors will not be given the privilege of extra time to "mull over" what they hear from Dr Foley before making their decision.

The fluoride vote stands at six "yes" votes to five votes "no", and Cr Ros Scotney believes that is how it will remain.

If Monday's meeting with Queensland Health dental expert Dr Michael Foley does sway any of the "no" voters, it will not be her.

She has had 23 years' experience as a dental nurse to make her decision.

"I'm definitely not going to change," Cr Scotney said.

"I think fluoride is a wonderful thing, but I am against fluoride in water."

Cr Scotney agreed professional advice could have been sought much earlier than on the eve of council's final decision.

Unfortunately, the suggestion was not made until Tuesday's Water and Waste Committee meeting.

"Maybe we could have heard from those people sooner, but I honestly feel everyone has already made a decision."  

Topics:  dental expert, fluoride, queensland health, toowoomba regional council



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