Water fluoridation anger

PEOPLE sank their teeth into the fluoridation issue in Yanchep at a public consultation last Wednesday.

Public health officials from the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee held a forum to gauge public opinion on the possibility of fluoridating the water supply to Yanchep and Two Rocks.

Fewer than 30 residents and people from other parts of Perth who were campaigning against fluoridation attended the meeting at Yanchep Community Centre, expressing opposition to the scheme that aims to reduce dental decay.

Residents made comments and asked questions about potential health side effects of fluoridation, health benefits, costs, concern about mass medication, who benefits financially and that they were happy with water as it was.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” one resident said.

“When are you planning to do this and how much will it cost?” another asked.

Committee chair Richard Lugg told residents the process for recommending whether or not an area should be fluoridated included gathering public comments, which would be included in a report to Health Minister Kim Hames.

“It’s no doubt we’ve got a message out of this loud and clear,” Dr Lugg said. “There’s a lot of opposition in this room.”

Dr Lugg said it was unlikely a recommendation would be made before next year, with the public invited to submit comments. He took questions about the costs on notice.

Perth Fluoride Free founder James Fairbairn attended the meeting and provided information about studies into possible side effects of fluoridation, such as fluorosis of teeth and bones and lowered IQs.

Two women who have started a petition against fluoridation also attended, saying they hoped to gather 3000 signatures before submitting it to the health and water ministers and pushing for an end to fluoridation throughout Perth.

“Preferably I would like to look after my own orifice,” one woman said.

“People who want fluoride can go to the pharmacy and get fluoride tablets.”

The two towns do not have fluoride because they used to have an independent water supply to the rest of Perth.

The committee has recently been looking at the unfluoridated water supplies which affect only 8 per cent of West Australians and assessing which areas could be fluoridated.

Formal submissions can be sent to the Secretary, Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee, PO Box 8172 Perth Business Centre, WA 6849, before the committee’s meeting on September 19.