Fluoride again on the agenda of local government

The Meander Valley Council has joined calls to amend legislation so councils can better gauge the community’s opinion about fluoride.

Earlier this week the Kentish Council confirmed it would lobby for local governments to be able to conduct elector polls about fluoride in their drinking supply.

Section 13 of the Fluoride Act prevents councils from conducting a community poll on the issue.

The addition of fluoride is a decision made by the Health Minister after a committee recommendation.

On Tuesday, Meander Valley councillors voted to support the Kentish Council’s push, which will be discussed at the Local Government Association of Tasmania meeting on July 26.

Meander Valley councillor Tanya King moved the motion and said it was about giving the community choice.

“Informed consent is standard practice for all medication and a key reason why most of Western Europe has ruled against fluoridation,” she wrote.

“If the community has no control over accepting or rejecting water fluoridation, we are allowing the state government to do to the whole community (obliging people to take a medicine irrespective of their consent) what doctors cannot do to individual patients.” 

Her motion was carried, with councillor Andrew Connor the sole opposition voice.

Cr Connor compared people campaigning against fluoride to those who opposed vaccinations.

“They want to question that science,” he said. 

As the only councillor to oppose the motion, Cr Connor said he was disappointed with his colleagues’ decision.

“Half a century of public health benefits were ignored and little regard given to the most vulnerable people in our community who have had improved dental health because of fluoride,” he wrote.

“There's good reasons why the decision of fluoridation is not left to councils, apart from a patchwork of implementation, it's simply too important to allow councils to chop and change it on a whim.

“The anti-science brigade needs to be stopped and reminded that public health is far too important to tinker with.”

Cr Connor said a large portion of the anti-fluoride campaign was based on the raw chemical, rather than the levels added to water.

“When it’s put into water supplies it’s [in] extremely low doses,” he said.