Fluoride levels anger campaigners

Four-year-old Olivia Stevens is getting the benefits of fluoridated water.
Four-year-old Olivia Stevens is getting the benefits of fluoridated water. Claudia Baxter

IPSWICH’S drinking water has reached its full dose of fluoride.

Results obtained by The Queensland Times show the Mt Crosby water treatment plant has recorded 0.76mg/L of the chemical, placing the city’s supply within Queensland Health’s required concentration. The news has angered anti-fluoride campaigners.

Queenslanders Against Water Fluoridation spokeswoman Merilyn Haines said the chemical was a poison that damaged teeth and caused other serious health problems.

“This is a program of unethical mass medication which was forced upon us all,” she said.

“There is a mountain of evidence out there that shows it can cause a range of health problems and because of its nature it accumulates in the body.”

But Australian Dental Association Queensland past president and spokesman Greg Moore said fluoride would make a significant improvement to Ipswich residents’ teeth.

“The most dangerous level of fluoride in the water is zero – fluoride is vitally important for dental health,” he said.

“In five years time when the babies who have been drinking fluoridated water now grow teeth, they will have significantly better dental health than those not exposed to fluoride.”

Media reports yesterday suggested Seqwater had under-dosed the chemical into water supplies.

A spokesman for Seqwater said fluoride levels had been low during some parts of 2009, but only because they did not want to rush its introduction.

“Seqwater deliberately took a conservative approach to the introduction of fluoride into the region’s water supplies – starting at lower levels and gradually building over the bedding down period,” the spokesman said.

“Most importantly each quarter since starting operation Mt Crosby has consistently delivered above the 0.4mg/L deemed by Queensland Health to deliver a health benefit.”

An increase in capacity of dosing plants meant levels jumped from an average of 0.44mg/L in the quarter up to June 2009 to the current average.

Fluoridation of Queensland’s water supply was controversially introduced by the State Government in 2008, with the chemical first entering Ipswich’s water in December of that year.

Queensland Health’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the program would eventually reduce public hospital dental waiting lists.

“Fluoridation will address what has been an epidemic of tooth decay in Queensland, one of the most expensive challenges in our public health system,” she said.

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