FLUORIDATED drinking water will flow into Yanchep in 2017, with supplies potentially starting this summer.
Department of Health water unit manager Richard Theobald said Yanchep had not yet received fluoridated water, as its current supply came from a local bore source not linked to the main metropolitan supply.
“The Fluoridation Of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee has monitored the population growth of Yanchep and Two Rocks for a number of years,” he said.
“Yanchep’s population has now grown large enough to require fluoridation.
“Following a committee recommendation, the Minister for Health issued the directive to fluoridate Yanchep’s water supply in March.
“Residents of Yanchep may be provided with fluoridated water from the Perth metropolitan supply during the summer of 2016-17 if it is necessary to supplement the local water supplies.
“However, permanent fluoridation of the Yanchep public water supply is scheduled for completion by December 2017.”
Mr Theobald said Two Rocks would not receive fluoridated water at the same time.
“This decision may be reviewed in future as the population of Two Rocks grows, or when a major water upgrade of the Two Rocks supply takes place,” he said.
“All of metropolitan Perth connected to the integrated water supply is supplied with fluoridated water.
“However, some communities such as Two Rocks, which are currently supplied from a local bore source, do not yet receive the public health benefits of fluoridated water.”
Mr Theobald said scientific evidence supported the benefits and safety of fluoride in public drinking water supplies.
“Community water fluoridation is an important, cost-effective public health measure which plays a critical role in reducing dental decay and improving oral health,” he said.
“Fluoridated drinking water particularly benefits children and those on a lower income as it is delivered directly into their home at no incremental cost.”
Mr Theobald said fluoride contributed to oral health initiatives such as healthy diet, oral hygiene, appropriate use of fluoridated toothpaste and regular dental check-ups, and would complement existing public dental health services.
“Fluoridation of water is backed by authoritative health research agencies and government bodies in Australia and worldwide, including the World Health Organization and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia,” he said.
Fluoride Free WA campaigners disagree however, and plan to field candidates in the State Election next year as part of their push to change legislation on water fluoridation.
President James Fairbairn said the move aimed to get government to end the practice, which the not-for-profit group had campaigned against since 2010 to raise awareness of the risks of fluoridated water.
“We have been pushing the WA Government to address antiquated laws which legislate the addition of fluoride to public water supplies, to little avail,” he said.
“We’ve decided the best way to get legislators to address the 50-year-old law is if we had our own candidates within the State Government.”
Mr Fairbairn said in the interim the party would work to have warnings on water utility bills and local council and Health Department websites so to raise the awareness about potential health risks of fluoride ingestion on infants being bottle fed.
“We will also push for fluoride-free water supplies in every local council and advocate for increased funding for dental services, particularly in low-income and regional areas,” he said.
The East Perth resident said education would be a better approach than “mass medication”.
Mr Theobald said the Health Department would work with the City of Wanneroo over coming months to keep the community informed about water fluoridation in Yanchep.
For more, visit www.healthywa.wa.gov.au or call 9388 4999.