'Dental dark age': Experts slam fluoride removal on Coast
THE Fraser Coast community was condemned to a "dental dark age" when councillors voted to remove fluoride from the water supply in 2013, according to health experts in a scathing review.
The Australian Medical Association Queensland and the Australian Dental Association Queensland have called for the Fraser Coast Regional Council, and several other councils who removed fluoride from their water supplies, to reverse the decision.
Councils across Queensland were handed the power to cease fluoridation of their water supplies after a legislative amendment was passed in 2012.
Scornful in his assessment of the decision five years ago, AMA Queensland president Dr Dilip Dhupelia said Fraser Coast Regional Council has failed to uphold their health responsibilities.
"It is a travesty that councils abandoned fluoridation before the long-term benefits for the community became apparent," Dr Dhupelia said.
"It remains a safe and very cost-effective way of preventing tooth decay in both children and adults."
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He said fluoridation only cost about 60 cents per person.
The decision to remove fluoride from the Fraser Coast water supply was made in a general council meeting on February 20, 2013.
ADAQ president Professors Laurie Walsh said it was "beggars belief" people were "being denied such a simple and inexpensive preventative health measure".
"Fluoride is a naturally-occurring substance that is found in rocks and filters into water sources," Prof Walsh said.
"Its introduction to drinking water came after researchers noticed lower incidence of tooth decay where fluoride was present in the water supply.
"Any suggestion that fluoride doesn't work or causes cancer or chronic illness ignores decades of irrefutable evidence of it being safe as well as effective."
The Fraser Coast Regional Council conducted extensive community consultation before voting to stop fluoridation five years ago.
Council CEO Ken Diehm said the issue had not been raised by by residents and the council has not discussed the issue since then.
"In 2013 the council believed fluoride was a dental health issue and it should be debated and organised by the State and Federal Governments," Mr Diehm said.
"Nothing has been raised by the council or the community to reverse that decision."