Health Alliance says fluoride a must, but not all agree

THE National Rural Health Alliance says fluoridation in rural and remote areas is a must, as an expert calls for the Fraser Coast Regional Council to review its decision to cease the practice.

According to NRHA, more than 60,000 preventable dental related hospitalisations occurred in 2010-11, with the highest rates for those aged between five and nine.

Australian Dental Association spokesman Dr Michael Foley said people in low socioeconomic areas - a category the Fraser Coast is a part of - were often more prone to health issues than those in wealthier areas.

He said the council should review its stance on fluoride for the good of a generation.

"(Fluoridation results) in a significant reduction in tooth decay for both children and adults," Dr Foley said.

"We've known for decades that fluoridation is effective for children, but there was a major Australian study last year which relied on data from the national oral survey about oral health back in 2004-2006.

"It showed consistently around Australia that adults, even elderly people who'd grown up before even fluoride toothpaste was around, even they had significant less tooth decay...than adults across Australia who didn't have the benefits of fluoridation."

Dr Foley said Queensland councils were encouraged by the chief health officer to take up a consultation offer with him before voting on fluoride following legislation changes in 2012.

"The Fraser Coast was one of the councils which didn't get a health briefing," Dr Foley said.

"Sadly, they listened to scare mongering from eccentric fringe groups, opted out and did not get a briefing from doctors or dentists or public health experts at all."

He said he was prepared to meet with the council to discuss benefits of fluoridation should it review its decision, adding that the State Government should have retained the responsibility.


No to fluoride was the correct decision, says retired medical scientist:

MERILYN Haines is a retired medical laboratory scientist and the current president of Queenslanders for Safe Water, Air and Food.

She believes the Fraser Coast Regional Council made the correct choice in voting to stop fluoridation.

"It's definitely the right decision because as I said it's a forced medical treatment and the doctors' code of ethics is that they can't force a treatment or medication on a patient without informed consent," Ms Haines said.

"And they haven't got the informed consent of an individual or the community with fluoridation to do it to everybody.

"Fluoridation does to a whole community what a single doctor can't do to a single patient."

Ms Haines said people wanting fluoride for dental reasons can get it through sources such as toothpaste and tablets.

She claimed fluoride was unsafe and could cause health problems such as rashes and migraines.


O'Connell stands by decision:

FRASER Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell maintains a February 20 decision to cease fluoridisation was correct.

"I think the decision's been made," the mayor told the Chronicle.

"I think we dealt with it correctly and thoroughly.

"We were given the opportunity to make the decision. Councillors did a lot of research. There was debate, public comment. We made our decision and I haven't heard anyone mention it subsequently."

Cr O'Connell said a review was "certainly not on our agenda at this stage" and reiterated his belief that it should have been left in the State Government's hands.

Topics:  fluoride fraser coast regional council health national rural health alliance water

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