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March 3, 2021

Fluoride: democracy in action

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I feel compelled to respond to Vince Keane’s rather passionate stance regarding Lismore City Council’s recent decision to overturn moves to fluoridate Lismore’s water supply.

To put it into context, the vote was narrowly won to stop fluoridation, there were many members of the public who showed up, and it wasn’t without impassioned debate on the night.

This is democracy in action and I think this is fabulous and healthy. Far from being the ‘idiot fringe’, these are people who feel strongly, are forming their own opinions and are thinking about the issues.

So, I must declare that I am one of the ‘idiot fringe’ too. I am not convinced that fluoridating the public water supply is in the best interests of public health.

So we have a difference of opinion. Let’s have a constructive debate, Vince, rather than demonising and vilifying an opposing opinion.

I have researched the topic a little and have come to my own conclusions, and I am also open to being convinced otherwise; however, I find your approach to people who may hold another opinion on this important issue anything but reasoned, logical and respectful – quite the opposite.

You argue that those who don’t want fluoride in their water should buy a tank and, in your eyes, ‘expose their own children to dental disease’. Well, funny as it may seem, I actually see it as the other way around.

Water is a basic need for us all, it doesn’t fall from the sky fluoridated; so as far as I see it, if you wish to have your water fluoridated then that is your choice but it isn’t mine, and I don’t wish to have my water contaminated with any chemical without a very clear and evidence-based benefit.

Otherwise for me it is the precautionary principle. As far as I can see, based on the evidence I have seen, water fluoridation hasn’t proven itself conclusively.

Your understanding of the science forms your belief, and likewise, my understanding of the science informs my views.

There is plenty of science out there that I have been reading that says that fluoridation, as it is currently practised, is toxic and unnecessary.

However, I also sense this debate is not really a winnable one. A bit like vaccinations and abortions; ultimately it is a difference of world views.

So let us respect our differences, even celebrate them. Let’s not vilify another because we hold differences of opinion, or worse still force our views upon another section of the population because we are so sure we are ‘right’. That is dangerous and is happening all too frequently in our society.

In the meantime, Vince, you use your fluoride toothpaste, and I will use my herbal one and we will happily coexist, but do we really need to force everyone to drink the stuff?


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Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 3 March, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 3 March, 2021