Cr Diane Woods wants Byron Council to reconsider fluoridating the Shire’s water supply, a move that has met with strong resistance from fellow councillor Rose Wanchap.
Both have submitted opposing motions for the upcoming Council meeting this Thursday, and it comes after a closed meeting was held with councillors and health professionals. Additionally a public meeting was also held at the Byron Community Centre where residents rejected the proposal.
While Cr Woods’s case for fluoridated water is a little light on detail, Cr Wanchap submitted a 1,900-word motion explaining her opposition and requesting Council maintain its no-fluoridation stance.
Cr Wanchap says in her motion, ‘The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classify fluoride as an “unapproved drug”. The Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia (TGA) have never approved fluoride for drinking water. The TGA acknowledges that it has never evaluated fluoridation chemicals for safety or effectiveness.’
But in her motion in support of fluoridation, Cr Woods says, ‘The best and most effective, efficient, cost-effective and equitable method is by the addition of the recommended dose to the Shire’s drinking water’.
‘The addition of fluoride is endorsed by the Australian National Health and Research Council, US Centers for disease control, WHO, and Health Canada to name a few.’
Cr Woods, who is also on the board of water supply authority Rous Water, told The Echo, ‘I have always been in support of fluoride as I have three generations of my family who have benefited from the use of fluoride to protect teeth’.
Meanwhile Council staff say in Council’s agenda that the motion – if successful – does not include Mullumbimby’s supply.
They say, ‘Rous Water has four constituent councils: Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley. Rous Water supplies bulk water to the majority of these local government areas, but there are townships that are excluded, including Casino, Nimbin, Mullumbimby and Wardell.’
Cr Woods agrees that Mullum’s supply would be exempt from dosing if it were to go ahead, ‘except during a bad drought when water may have to be pumped from Rocky Creek to supplement the supply’.
‘The NSW health department is paying the capital cost for the plant and equipment but the cost of the fluoride will be borne by all councils whether it is in our supply or not.’
Previously Cr Woods said that Rous Water have asked councils to make a decision on fluoridation as plans are under way for dosing plants at Rocky Creek Dam.