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Byron Shire
August 14, 2022

Fluoride fiasco: Byron residents downstream of plant

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Several Byron Shire households face the possibility of being forced to drink fluoridated water or having their supply cut off after the discovery they live downstream of a new Clunes fluoridation plant that was intended to dose only Lismore LGA residents.

The problem, which was only discovered after construction of the Clunes dosing plant had commenced, is the subject of a briefing paper recently distributed to Lismore councillors.

According to the document, there are an unspecified number of properties in the Booyong area that are within Byron Shire but are connected to the Lismore water supply via the Clunes reservoir.

Echonetdaily believes the problem affects about eight properties that, despite being in Byron Shire, are water supply customers of Lismore.

Once fluoridation of the water supply commences these properties will also receive fluoridated water, potentially placing Rous Water in breach of the state government’s ‘direction to fluoridate’, as that applied only to the Lismore LGA.

The note says Byron council staff are now conducting surveys of the affected residents to see whether they will accept the fluoridated water or whether an alternative solution needs to be found.

In the dark: Byron Shire Cr Duncan Dey.
In the dark: Byron Shire Cr Duncan Dey.

Byron councillor in the dark

But that was news to Byron councillor Duncan Dey, who also sits on Rous Water County Council, yet who only heard about the issue when he was contacted by Echonetdaily for comment.

Cr Dey, who has subsequently been contacted by Rous Water, said, ‘for me the issue also goes a bit beyond what a current resident may prefer’.

‘If these water supply customers have a choice, the technical solutions could include Rous duplicating its lines and reservoirs to give those residents choice (very expensive); or offering filters to remove fluoride (very cheap but I don’t know how effective); or offering rainwater tanks (legal issues here if Rous remains responsible for the water quality),’ he said.

Cr Dey added, ‘as I’m a councillor on both, I expect reports from Rous and from Byron Council in the near future’.

He said he would be asking for a copy of Byron staff’s correspondence with the residents.  ‘I’d need to know they were fully and correctly informed.’

Waste of money

The matter first came to public attention when Lismore Greens councillor Vanessa Ekins revealed it on Facebook earlier this week.

Cr Ekins, who voted against fluoridation on Lismore council said, ‘what’s been generated from this information is all these people in Lismore LGA are asking Lismore council to supply them with filters because they don’t want it either’.

Describing the situation as a ‘fiasco’, Cr Ekins added, ‘it once again raises the issue that it was the council that made the decision to fluoridate the water supply but the people were never consulted.

‘None of [the councillors] – except me- have a science degree and [they] aren’t qualified to make a decision.

Councillors not qualified: Lismore councillor Vanessa Ekins
Councillors not qualified: Lismore councillor Vanessa Ekins

‘They all stated it was their concern for small children, that convinced them to fluoridate, but when we did a population breakdown there were only a few children that fitted that criteria.

‘So if you take the $3 million for the dosing plants and $300,000 annual cost for the fluoride and puut that into education and dental care we would’ve had an incredible resource,’ Cr Ekins said.

Disconnection an option

Rous Water and Lismore City Council are looking at a number of options to deal with the situation including disconnecting all affected Byron shire residents from the water supply or disconnecting only those who do not wish to receive fluoridated water.

They are also considering: supplying filters to remove fluoride from the water supply to individual properties; construction of a separate main to supply unfluoridated water to those properties; or supplying them with water tanks.

Cr Dey said the issue demonstrated a ‘lack of care’ by Rous Water.

‘[Byron] council has had a position of opposing fluoridation for four to five years,’ he told Echonetdaily, adding that to discover it this far down the track was as ‘an absolute oversight’.

He said the failure of council staff to brief him was ‘devastating’.

Cr Dey said residents of the shire ‘have the right to be protected from fluoride and if anyone is concerned I will take it up with the authorities. They should contact me – all my contacts are on the council’s website.’

Rous Water GM Kyme Lavelle told Echonetdaily the issue was a matter for Lismore and Byron councils to resolve.

‘Our customers are the councils: they’re the ones who retail the water to residents,’ he said.

‘It’s not a matter we would be involved with in terms of solutions, although we will be part of the processes of trying to resolve the issue.’

He acknowledged that Rous County Council members, including Cr Dey, had yet to be briefed on the issue. This, he said, would happen at Rous’s next council meeting later in the month.

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  1. Case histories and peer reviewed research shows that fluoride can cause harm even at low levels. Some people can experience toxicity symptoms from drinking fluoridated water or using fluoride tablets. Symptoms include neurological problems, headaches, skin irritation, gastrointestinal pain, and symptoms (Waldbott 1956, 1958, Feltman 1956, Feltman and Kosel 1961, Grimbergen 1974, Petraborg 1977, NRC 2006, Spittle 2008,). Patients were often unaware that their drinking water contained fluoride. Symptoms improved with avoidance of fluoridated water and returned with consumption of fluoridated water or with experimental challenge with fluoride and confirmed by double blind testing. Doctors aren’t trained to suspect fluoride, so patients may be treated for side effects when all that is needed, is avoidance of fluoridated water. These side effects experienced by some people at low levels are the same as those that are experienced by most people at high levels of exposure indicating that the symptoms are toxicity or poisoning symptoms.(Confirmed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference) This makes sense when you consider that the fluoride ion is more toxic than as lead and only slightly less lethal than arsenic (Clinical Toxicology of Commercial products, LD50 data – 1984), yet only 10 ppb (0.01 ppm) maximum is allowed for lead and arsenic in our drinking water. Now with fluoride they are adding 700 to 1000 ppb (0.7 to 1.0 ppm). There are going to be problems. Fluoride is that active ingredient in many rat poisons and insecticides. Do your own research. Don’t listen to opinions and endorsements.
    The Feltman and Kosel study was published in the Journal of Dental Medicine and
    received funding from the US Public Health Service, Department of Health
    Education and Welfare, Washington DC.
    “Fluorine and fluorides can act as direct cellular poisons by interfering with calcium metabolism and enzyme mechanisms.” (Handbook of Poisoning: Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment, 11th Edition, 1983.)
    “Fluoride is an enzyme poison, in the same class as cyanide, oxalate, or azide … it is capable of a very wide variety of harmful effects, even at low doses.” (James B. Patrick, Ph.D., antibiotics research scientist.)
    “Yes, fluoride is an (enzyme) inhibitor. You are right in the implication that when it comes to certain patients, it is important that they do not have fluoride in the water.” (Dr. Harold Loe, National Institute of Dental Research, to a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, 1989.)

  2. I live in Hampton Melbourne and we have had to spend more than $10K on rain water tanks, plumbing into our kitchen and bathroom for the luxury of a water supply than does not contain these poisons including arsenic, cadmium and lead (according to the Australian Drinking Water Standards). Since then my health has improved remarkably. 7 yrs ago I was diagnosed with thyroid disease and since I stopped ingesting fluoridated water my hormone levels returned to normal and I am still NOT taking any medication. It is an on going battle for me though as I have to avoid all food or drinks that contain fluoridated water or have been manufactured using fluoridated water which is practically everything. We have to make our own yoghurt, bread, mayonnaise, sauces etc and our diet is limited to fresh fruit, veg and meat – even organic yoghurt made from fluoridated water if milk supplies not available and fluoride is not on labels so can’t even buy that. I just want the freedom of choice about it, I am not against fluoride at all, anyone who believes it is good for them can take as much of it as they want. It is a waste product from the fertilizer industry so it should be cheap enough to get if you want it to consume it. Does this mean our local council will reimburse us our expenses and ongoing filter costs in Melbourne?

  3. Fluoride is a toxic waste and mass medication with toxic waste, without even any controls on dosage, is a crime against humanity. All these corrupt politicians who support it should be dismissed and charged with abuse of office

  4. If the Byron residents who are affected by this stuff up don’t agree to have that water supply why should I?
    I am a member of Ballina’s anti fluoridation movement & I have said from day one I don’t want it,
    I want clean safe drinking water & what Rous supplies now is not good, we have to filter to remove the chlorine etc.
    Shortly they are to put this neurotoxin in & tell us to drink it because it’s good for us.
    I object to paying for goods & services I don’t want!

  5. Yes – i would believe Flouride is a neurotoxic killer.
    If it is added to the Rocky Creek Dam fresh water supply in tiny tiny amounts, it is there to kill Giardia – or other such definitely-harmful-to-the-human-population bugs. I’ve had glandular fever and Giardia, and they are both horrible.
    If you feel that you have a sensitivity to fluoride – speak with your GP and buy a good-quality water filter.
    Better yet, hire someone to clean out you guttering and buy a fresh rainwater tank.
    I’ve been living off fresh northern rivers rain for decades: You can’t buy water this good. 🙂

  6. the stats of the W>H>O> clearly show us that for the past 20 years plus, decline in bad oral health has been identical in fluoridated and non fluoridated countries , some never fluoridated countries even below that !!…how anyone can believe that a toxic waste product can be good for your health is beyond me…watch out for the folks who are in charge of this, like end of 2013 when our dear Cheif of NSW health, Dr. Kerry Chant answered the question of how to control the daily intake of fluoridated water with the mind blowing answer : m” drinking too much water isnt good for you anyway…!!” these are the folks you dealing with, its a criminal joke, really…98 % of Europe is free of that toxic waste….bad teeth with no fluoride in Europe??..only on your sugar diet…3 million bucks wasted on this ?? imagine we would spend 3 million bucks on Ballina and Lismore on dental care and diet education…thats were a healthy mind would put that money.Its simply a crime ! “fluoridation is medicating with out consent !” (european Court 2005 !!

  7. here go the weirdos again with dubious scientific data. I grew up with fluoradited water and so did my kids and my whole family and we have all been vaccinated. In an extended family if well over 100 people none of us had the slightest health problems. Here we live very close to a phone tower and non of our heads have exploded yet.
    We live in the 21st century and if you are not happy with your life in the Northern Rivers please move to the Simpson desert and let us enjoy our healthy modern lifestyle here, my kids want healthy teeth and fluoride prevents them from having cavities

    • Ohhh yes Arco Iris, here we go, people like you spouting your not scientific rationale and name calling while you are at it. If you want F, go buy some tablets, and let the ones that don’t have that choice! Thanks anyway

  8. Home-based water filtration systems will NOT
    remove fluoride. Only reverse osmosis systems
    will remove it and they are very expensive and
    Wasteful of water 3L wasted for every 1L of
    filtered water! This is part if the problem with
    adding fluoride to the water supply – people effectively have no choice. If they have a medical
    problem that requires them to avoid fluoride it’s
    going to be very costly for them – or will Council
    stump up the costs for people who will need to purchase very expensive reverse osmosis to stay healthy?

  9. I have a thyroid disease and I am allergic to fluoride! They say 10 per cent of the population have thyroid problems including Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s and Graves disease. If you have one of these diseases then fluoridated water plays havoc with your hormones and metabolism for the rest of your life! The Journal of Epidemiology reveals that 25% of menopausal women are suffering from some degree of hypothyroidism. Clearly this is a massive epidemic, and it appears to be getting worse. How many friends of yours suffer from a Thyroid disorder? Ask around and you will be surprised. Symptoms are being overweight, brain fog, anxiety, extreme fatigue, sore muscles, depression, intolerance to heat or cold, hair loss, eyebrow thinning, or suffering with severe constipation, low libido, infertility, or uncomfortable menopause plus 300 other more symptoms! The auto-immune Hashimoto’s disease and Graves disease can eventually result in cancers and heart problems and kidney problems, and add a range of other auto-immune disorders to add to your health problems. So many people don’t yet know if they have thyroid problems. Ask your doctor for the blood test and have your thyroid status carefully checked. Insist on more testing than the simple TSH test and Free T4. Add a Free T3 and the Thyroid Antibody Panel. You may be one of the millions of people whose fluoride exposure over the years has finally made you low thyroid. Good Luck


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