Lifestyle

City's fluoride debate is back on

MAYOR Paul Pisasale has opened the door to a fluoride back-flip in Ipswich - but dental experts warn the decision is best left to health professionals.

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Ipswich's drinking water has contained fluoride since the Bligh Government made it compulsory in 2008.

But Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has now reversed that policy and handed the power to decide whether fluoridation of drinking water continues back to councils.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of the Queensland Council of Mayors yesterday and Cr Pisasale said the community should make their voices heard.

He called on advocates and opponent of fluoride to make their views known and said the council would be guided by the people, not politicians.

"What I want to do is hear from the community about fluoride and I want everybody to speak up. There's many for it and a lot of people against it," he said.

"It's important to get the right decision."

But Queensland Dental Association President Dr Andrew Wong said Ipswich's drinking water "absolutely" must contain fluoride and the decision should not be up for debate.

"The association absolutely believes Queensland's water supply should be fluoridated and is supported by the AMA. It has shown to be a safe and effective means of reducing dental decay," he said.

"The association urges all council that are fluoridating their water to continue to do so and urge councils that are considering it to implement it."

Dr Wong said over 25 years of medical research proved fluoride has health benefits, not disadvantages.

"The Association and the AMA are very concerned with the change in legislation and that minority groups will sway local governments."

A Queensland Urban Utilities spokesperson, which supplies Ipswich's water, said the organisation is yet to discuss this issue with councils.

"We are keen to understand the position of our shareholding councils and are committed to working collaboratively with them and the bulk water supplier to ensure the best outcome for our customers and the community," a spokesperson said.

Fluoride is added to drinking water at treatment plants.

Fluoride Facts

  • Queensand had the worst levels of tooth decay in Austrlaia prior to fluoride being introduced.
  • Fluoride reduces the risk of dental decay by up to 40%.
  • Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound found in water, plants, rocks, soil, air and foods.

Topics:  fluoridation of drinking water, fluoride, lawrence springborg, paul pisasale



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