• Join us 

Login to your Account

Account Options

Flood-ravaged town to spend $90k on ‘crazy’ fluoride poll - The Daily Telegraph

30 April 2021
The Daily Telegraph

A flood-ravaged Mid North Coast town — with a $50 million-plus damage bill — is spending up to $90,000 on a “ludicrous’’ community poll on whether residents want to stop adding fluoride to their water.

Port Macquarie Hastings Council has voted in favour of the non-binding poll in a move one opposition councillor slammed as “crazy” given the town’s estimated damage bill from the recent floods.

Councillor Rob Turner, who voted against the poll, said there was “no point” in the council conducting it with water fluoridation dictated by the state government anyway.

“It is ludicrous and we should focus on helping our community recover from the floods, instead of a poll where council doesn’t have any ­capacity to change what they’re doing,” Mr Turner told The Daily Telegraph. “It’s crazy, council doesn’t really do anything with health, it’s just not its core business.”

The move is the brainchild of Deputy Mayor Lisa Intemann, a long-time fluoride ­opponent, who said she began researching fluoride in 2004. “I went looking on the ­internet at government reports, not conspiracy theories, to find out everything I could on it,” she said.

Ms Intemann said she “followed the science on it”, saying her investigation led her to find “significant potential for adverse health effects” associated with fluoride in water, ­including the “potential loss of IQ and brain development” in children and the unborn.

“I don’t think it’s a crazy amount of money for the poll, council spends about $280,000 a year on fluoridation,” she said.

“If we spend up to $90,000 giving people both sides, and getting the hopefully-informed opinion of the community and they say they want fluoride stopped, that then justifies council taking a fairly strong approach to NSW Health and calling for an independent review of the science.”

A 2007 NSW Government dental health survey of children aged five and six found those living in unfluoridated towns on average had 2.62 ­decayed or missing teeth, compared to just 1.4 for those with fluoride. Another government report in 2020 found fluoridation of public water supplies was the single most effective public health measure for ­reducing dental issues.

Australian Dental Association NSW President Dr Kathleen Matthews said the Port Macquarie poll was a “huge waste of time, expense and ­resources”.

“Fluoride is key to helping prevent tooth decay, the most common chronic condition in Australia,” Dr Matthews said, adding it was “safe, effective and equitable”.

Ms Intemann’s push, which was supported by Mayor Peta Pinson, means the poll will be held alongside local government elections in September. If the majority of residents vote in favour of removing fluoride, the council will lobby the state government — which is not obliged to listen.

Port Macquarie father-of-three Richard Baker said he was not in favour of fluoride being removed from the water.

“I think it’s good to have it in there, it’s cutting people’s dental bills,” he said. “I can’t see it hurting anyone, and let’s be honest, a lot of people can’t afford to go to the dentist.”

Read ADA NSW position on water fluoridation >

Read the online article >

Secondary Navigation

News Feed