Brett Wortman

Council won't turn off fluoride

IT HAS the authority to turn off the fluoride tap but the Southern Downs Regional Council does not consider it is a significant issue.

The council started adding fluoride to Warwick and Stanthorpe's water supply in mid-2011 after the previous State Government mandated fluoride be added to water supplies serving 1000 people or more.

But the controversial mandate was overturned recently with changes to Queensland's legislation meaning local governments now have the power to determine if it is in the best interests of their communities to implement, continue or cease water fluoridation.

The Department of Health has written to local governments in Queensland, offering to discuss the health benefits of fluoridation.

Several local governments have taken up the offer and yesterday councillors in the South Burnett voted to cease water fluoridation, but the issue has not appeared on the Southern Downs Regional Council's agenda.

SDRC water and sewerage manager Gary Palmer said the council did not consider the issue needed to be addressed.

"Council's CEO does not consider this matter needs to be addressed unless the community raises significant concerns about council continuing to fluoridate water supplies," he said.

"He has discussed the matter with councillors and there does not appear to be any support for this being on council's agenda at this stage."

According to Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young implementing fluoridation in water is the most important way local governments can improve the teeth of their communities.

Dr Young said World Health Organisation studies showed adding fluoride to water supplies was a safe and effective way of reducing tooth decay.

"In the small amounts that are used in water supplies, fluoride is not harmful," she said.

"There is no evidence to show fluoride, in the amounts used in water supplies, has any detrimental health effects."



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