Debate ramps up over benefits of fluoridation
IT'S more a question of how much than why not, according to the Save Our Shires action group.
The group, which supplied Southern Downs Regional Council with a controversial fluoride petition this week, said the petition was not just launched for health concerns but for economic reasons.
Save our Shires secretary Mary Rofe suggests that as only a portion of homes in the Southern Downs region are connected to town supplies the fluoridated water would not be reaching a maximum amount of citizens within the shire anyway.
"Logically, even if you think it's something that is supposed to be good for people, why doesn't it reach the whole population?" Ms Rofe said.
"IT'S a scatter-gun approach".
The petition was developed from the results of a listening post established by the rate- payer group in Stanthorpe last year.
"Even if you agreed with fluoridation, how many people are actually drinking the water?" she said.
Out of the 100 people, surveyed by the Daily News from Allora, Stanthorpe and Warwick, 56 connected to the town water supply said they still drank tank water.
The other 44 connected to the supply said they drank the town water regularly, however 16 of those filtered the water for taste.
While it could be said this paints a clear picture of the amount of people not consuming the ratepayer-funded fluoride solution, questions still remain about the amount of town water used in everyday cooking and the production of food, as fluoridated water is used widely throughout the state.
At the cost of $5400 per annum in Stanthorpe, and $18,300 per annum in Warwick and Yangan, the fluoridated water is perhaps consumed more than people are aware.
According to the University of Queensland School of Chemical Engineering Australia professorial fellow Suresh Bhatia only activated alumina-based filters were significantly effective in removing fluoride.
This means many who have attempted to avoid fluoride consumption have been unsuccessful.
"Typical household water filters, which are activated carbon-based, will not reduce fluoride levels significantly," Prof Bhatia said.
"The most effective treatment is reverse osmosis, but that is much more expensive and also removes other mineral content. That may be undesirable."
No doubt the debate will continue in the coming weeks.