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August 18, 2022

High court challenge to north coast fluoridation mooted

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Anti fluoride campaigner Al Oshlack.  (Darren Coyne)
Anti fluoride campaigner Al Oshlack. (Darren Coyne)

Chris Dobney & Hans Lovejoy

Veteran anti-fluoride campaigner Al Oshlack is considering mounting a High Court challenge to the practice Australia-wide, after the announcement this week that new dosing plants in Lismore and Ballina LGAs will go online next month.

The carefully worded press release from Rous Water made much of the benefits of fluoridation, yet did not mention Byron Shire had rejected it, nor referred to any opposition.

That includes protests and court cases against the move, led by Al Oshlack.

Community forum

Mr Oshlack told Echonetdaily a big community forum is planned this Friday (July 31) at the Lismore Bowling Club from 6pm.

‘There will be food, music, information, speakers and the opportunity to formulate strategies to eliminate or lessen fluoride intake if the plants are turned on.

‘Also, a new association has formed: Fluoride Free Northern Rivers.

‘They are putting the forum on and have been collecting a petition calling for a community plebiscite.’

But despite losing a Supreme Court challenge against the fluoridation order in 2012 Mr Oshlack is considering a challenge to the highest court in the land: the High Court of Australia.

Civil conscription

‘The association has been obtaining legal advice on a possible High Court challenge to the validity of the direction by the department of health compelling Rous Water to undertake mass medication of the Lismore and Ballina water supply,’ he said.

‘The constitution specifically prohibits the supply of medical or dental services if it involves “civil conscription”. Recent High Court judgments have given the interpretation of civil conscription a wide meaning,’ he added.

‘There was a case a few years back where the federal government tried to take over some hospitals in Tasmania and the move was opposed in the High Court on the ground of civil conscription,’ he told Echonetdaily.

‘Although that case was lost, the judge said the meaning of civil conscription could include forced medication. Well what is fluoride if not forced medication?’

Mr Oshlack said that while the group was still getting legal advice about the possible move, any decision by the High Court would have nationwide implications.

‘If they decide it’s illegal, it’s not just illegal for Lismore and Ballina but the whole country,’ he said.

Mr Oshlack said fluoride’s defenders often drew a false analogy between fluoride and vaccination.

‘Vaccination may be mass medication but it’s not forced medication. They can take money away from you if you don’t vaccinate but they can’t force you to do it. But that’s not the case with fluoride,’ he told Echonetdaily. ‘You don’t get a choice.’

Rotten teeth

Ballina and Rous Water councillor Sue Meehan, who has spearheaded the move towards fluoridation, told local media she welcomed the news the new plants would soon be operational.

‘As a teacher of indigenous students and infant children, I’ve seen children who’ve had to have every tooth in their head taken out because of the problems with their teeth. I’ve had to refer children who had teeth were so rotten that they were really unhealthy with it,’ she told ABC radio this morning.

But Mr Oshlack said it was ‘a reflection on the sad state of local democracy when Sue Meehan starts to moralise on the need to force fluoride on the populace, when the community has been denied the right to, by way of a plebiscite, to have a say on this very important and controversial issue.’

Mr Oshlack said his earlier Supreme Court action was taken after councillors received a letter from ‘Australia’s leading legal firm’ telling them they would be financially liable if they voted against fluoridation.

Despite finding against him, Mr Oshlack said the court found the claims in the letter were false.

Some Echonetdaily readers have suggested that if authorities were really concerned about tooth decay in children, they should mandate to force soft-drink companies to add fluoride to their drinks, just as they add much sugar to them.

People also have the choice of buying toothpaste with fluoride.


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  1. Mr. Oshlack just can’t seem to comprehend the fact that there is no medication involved in fluoridation, and nothing is forced upon anyone….the two elements required to make a case for “forced medication”.

    Fluoride at the optimal level at which water is fluoridated, is simply an ion, identical to that ion which has aleays existed in water. There is nothing in fluoridated water at the tap that doesn’t already exist in water already. Because water flows from ones tap does not, in any manner, mean that he/she must drink it. No one is tied down and has fluoridated water forced down their throats.

    These are the reasons why this ridiculous argument has been rejected by the courts repeatedly through the decades. It obviously has no merit.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

    • Ah, Steve, rearing your ugly head again, I see. Rant, rant, rant. Well, we have a saying here in Australia: “pull your head in”. Not enough work for you in North Carolina now that fluoride has fixed up all your customers for free? Or are you raking it in fixing up all the fluorosis damage caused by your pet forced medication? It doesn’t come cheap, does it?

      For those who don’t know him, Steve is a cracker dentist obsessive about rubbishing anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with water fluoridation. He’s an American who democratically opposes freedom of choice, with the possible exception of the right to own assault rifles. Whee hah!

      • Peter Mcprof

        I see you provide not one scrap of valid facts or evidence to support your antifluoridationist ideology….as is typical of the overwhelming majority of antifluoridationists.

        Steven D. Slott, DDS

    • What Dentist Steve Slott from the USA, just can’t seem to comprehend is the fluoride is added to water at the direction of the Health Dept, for a medical condition of the teeth.

      What Dentist Steve Slott from the USA, just can’t seem to comprehend is once the fluoride is added to water at the direction of the Health Dept, for a medical condition of the teeth, this water is incorporated into most food and beverages.

      What Dentist Steve Slott from the USA, just can’t seem to comprehend is that once the fluoride is added to water at the direction of the Health Dept, for a medical condition of the teeth, there is no need to swallow the fluoride for it to act on the surface of the teeth. We spit out fluoridated toothpaste, for a reason, because fluoride is an accumulative toxin.

      What is next, shampoo and sunscreen added to the tap water, for our hair and skin.

      These are the reasons why this ridiculous forced fluoridation has been rejected by the courts in Holland and many other countries, through the decades. It obviously has no merit, and is a nonsense.
      95% of the worlds population do not have forced fluoridation.

    • “There is nothing in fluoridated water at the tap that doesn’t already exist in water already.” Maybe that’s why children’s teeth are so bad from the already present fluoride, that you suggest. Half of my kids grew up on fluoridated water and have had poorer teeth than the other half who’ve grown up on natural rainwater, with no caries!

      “Fluoride at the optimal level at which water is fluoridated….” What is the optimal level and how do you know that the “optimal” level is exactly the same for every mouthful being drunk from the tap?

      A dentist who wants to see less patients…..you must be a dying breed. Now, that’s not good business sense.

    • It is not certain that Steve Slott is employed to promote this industrial toxic waste, fluoride hydrofluosilicic acid. Many say so, and that he gets paid by the word.

      What is certain: Follow the money to learn the truth.
      There is certainly big money ($ billions) involved in selling it to communities. These industries have many lobbyists to ensure that the truth is not exposed that fluoride is ineffective for teeth and dangerous to health.

    • That’s right Mr Slott – Fluoride is not a medication – it’s a WASTE PRODUCT from the FERTILISER INDUSTRY!

      Nobel Prize winning Doctors, PhD’s, Scientists etc. who oppose fluoride:


      Even China DOES NOT ALLOW WATER FLUORIDATION because it’s too toxic and causes health issues.

      Harvard studies have concluded Fluoride causes:

      Rotten teeth
      Reduction in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
      Reduction in lipid content
      Impaired antioxidant defense systems
      Damage to the hippocampus
      Damage to the Purkinje cells
      Increased uptake of aluminum
      Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer’s disease)
      Exacerbation of lesions induced by iodine deficiency
      Accumulation of fluoride in the pineal gland

      And as far as having no merit is concerned; you’re counter had none.

  2. Al/Darren, always the noise maker and backed by the very noisy minority. Let the High Court deal with more imortant matters. Fluoride is good for our children’s teeth.

    • Some of you people need REAL education.

      There are a couple of different types of fluoride. Some is “safe”.
      The stuff they want to put into OUR water is an industrial waste product which Hitler put into the water given to the Jewish people he experimented on.


    • Children are more than just teeth.
      Fluoride gives a number of children dental fluorosis, for the rest of their lives.
      Fluoride may knock a few IQ points off your children for the rest of their lives.
      Fluoride over a lifetime may accumulate and give you arthritic like symptoms.
      Fluoride over a lifetime may accumulate and give you Alzheimers.
      Fluoride over a lifetime may accumulate and give you kidney disease or make your kidney problems worse.
      Fluoride over a lifetime may accumulate and give you diabetes or make your diabetes worse.
      Fluoride over a lifetime may accumulate and calcify your arteries.

      Fluoride may or might not save your children, a couple of fillings over a lifetime.

      If people want to swallow fluoride and get fluoride into their bloodstream, just swallow toothpaste or have a few cups of tea.
      Forced fluoridation makes no sense.

  3. Just because something occurs naturally in water doesn’t make it safe. There’s also lead and arsenic in water that is not safe. In fact the fluoride ion is more toxic than lead and only slightly less than arsenic. Peer reviewed scientific research has linked drinking fluoride ion to a range of adverse health effects so the less the better. Lots of people are definitely “forced” to drink fluoridated water as they have no alternative. The word “forced” here is like the word forced in “the aircraft had to make a forced landing”. In other words it’s force of circumstances. It’s dishonest to refer to physical force. Some people cannot afford a distiller or a whole house filter. Some are not strong enough to haul water jugs home. Some do not own a vehicle. Some cannot afford to buy water.

    • And it still passes all the international drinking water regulations as regard to purity and contaminates, So what is the problem?
      No one is forcing you to do anything it is your choice ,All that is done is the local authority , after looking at all the relevant information , makes a health decision for the greater good of the community .If you want to be part of it, well and good .If you decide not too that is your right , but as a minority you do not decide the outcomes for the rest of the community

      • 95% of the world’s population do not have forced fluoridation.
        So it does not pass muster all over the world.
        Holland, Japan, and most of Europe banned Forced fluoridation in the 1970s.
        Some major towns, in Chris Price’s New Zealand, have banned forced fluoridation.

        Once fluoride is in the water, it then, is in most food and beverages, that is the problem.
        Nobody can calculate your total dose from ALL sources of fluoride.
        You can swallow all you want, but nobody has a right to put a toxin in my water, that I pay for.

    • Pete

      1. Just because antifluoridationists make insubstantiated claims about fluoridated water does not make it unsafe. In the US, and I presume in Ireland, all drinking water at the tap must meet mandated, strict quality certification requirements. If it doesn’t it is not allowed. It’s that simple. Optimally fluoridated water at the tap easily meets all of these requirements.

      Any lead and/or arsenic in drinking water at the tap is, indeed, in safe amounts. The EPA maximum allowable amount (MCL) of lead in drinking water at the tap is 15 parts per billion. The MCL for arsenic is 10 parts per billion. The MCL for fluoride is 4.0 parts per million. Fluoride has always existed in water. During the entire 70 year history of water fluoridation, there have been no proven adverse effects. If you have valid, peer-reviewed scientific evidence of any link of optimal level fluoride to any adverse effects, then produce it, properly cited to original sources. Bear in mind that antifluoridationist websites and blogs do not qualify as original sites.

      2. No one is forced to do anything in regard to fluoridation. If you knew the water from your tap was laced with cyanide, you would, of course, not drink it and would seek alternative sources for your water needs. Rain water, water from rivers/streams, bottled water….you would make whatever arrangements you needed to make, as would anyone. Inconvenience, regardless the degree, does not equate with force. When there are options, there is no force. The courts have been clear on this, having rejected the “forced medication” nonsense every time antifluoridationists have attempted it.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Steve Slott the Dentist from the US, may have poisoned himself with mercury and toxic fluoride, but that does not mean, we also should be poisoned as well.

        The MCL Goal for arsenic, lead and mercury is ZERO. Which means zero should be deliberately added to our water.

  4. Steven, what is the optimum dose required on a daily basis to prevent tooth decay? Does this dose vary depending on age and physical condition? What is the amount of fluoride that needs to be ingested before fluorosis becomes apparent on the teeth? What is the rate of fluorosis in NSW in fluorodated areas as compared to the rate in Lismore? Are you able to tell us what is the concentration and molecular form of the ‘natural occurring’ fluoride in the Lismore / Ballina water supply?

    My final question to you with your expertise, would you be able to cite all or any High Court constitutional decisions in relation to section 51 xx(iii)(a) regarding whether fluoridation of the water supply is ‘civil conscription’.

    Maybe I’ll be able to get some of these questions answered at the Fluoride Forum on Friday night at Lismore City Bowling Club

  5. Go Mr Oshlack!

    He represents what I love about this area. Those brave souls who look at an issue from a different or wider angle than the majority who are often swayed by coopted media coverage, info overload and fear of being different. I thank Mr Oshlack and his ilk for standing up and posing intelligent questions for us all to consider in the midst of criticism and personal sacrifice. He’s doing this for us.

    There is ample evidence available to convince for or against flouride. I’m slightly anti flouride given what is happening overseas in intelligent countries, the fact fluoride mainly benefits impoverished communities who eat crap and don’t look after their kid’s teeth, and that it costs a bomb, wastes resources and isn’t necessary here.

    Having said that, I don’t know enough to make a properly informed decision and I don’t think the community at large does either. Hopefully Mr Oshlack will instigate a process whereby we can choose with the best non partisan information available what we want for our community and be able live that choice without outside pressue to do otherwise.

  6. I am unsure the health of indigenous Australians will be helped by the fluoridated water as suggested [as much as by nutritional changes, such as reducing sugar intake, that may have other health benefits e.g. reducing diabetes]..This is another no brainer..perhaps the spearheading Sue Meehan should read a book on nutrition,

    Regards the ion of fluoride already being in the water if so why add more ? please explain this “optimal” one size fits all level and how it will be distributed “optimally’ so I can get my fair share without my spleen being removed at a later date, I have lost faith in scientific advancements..which always work in the lab but rarely in the field where human error is rampant.

  7. The more water you drink the more fluoride you will get. I like to drink a lot of water and I don’t want the by product of aluminium smelters in my drinking, bathing and garden water, or going into our rivers and ocean. It is not natural. What is natural is good dental hygiene and less sugary drinks. Children with lots of tooth decay usually don’t drink much water so adding this poison won’t help them anyway. Better to put the money into dental education programs in the schools.

  8. 99% of water goes down the drain,toilet,shower,garden…. How many kids in Lismore have got bad teeth ? Has that study been done ? Waste of tax payers money !

  9. Remember, if the arguments against fluoride were so good , you would think they would stand up to public scrutiny on their own merit, without legal help. Or threats of. If they have to take legal action to pass them, it is obvious they are not.
    And also if the arguments against fluoride were so good,The illnesses and associated medical problems that fluoride is supposed to cause, at .7PPM, would have well and truly been investigated in the 70 years of its use, And what do we find as real evidence that will sway the authorities. Nothing

  10. Hydrofluoric Acid dissolved in water:
    HF + H2O = H+ & F- & H2O

    HFSA dissolved in water
    HFSA + H2O = H2O & silica & F-

    Here is what the CDC says about fluoride ions all being the same:

    Fluoride Additives Are Not Different From Natural Fluoride

    Some consumers have questioned whether fluoride from natural groundwater sources, such as calcium fluoride, is better than fluorides added “artificially,” such as HFSA or sodium fluoride. Two recent scientific studies listed below demonstrate that the same fluoride ion is present in naturally occurring fluoride or fluoride drinking water additives and that no intermediates or other products were observed at pH levels as low as 3.5. In addition, fluoride metabolism is not affected differently by the chemical compounds nor are they affected by whether the fluoride is present naturally or artificially.

    The ionic speciation study conducted in 2006 mentioned previously (Finney WF, Wilson E, Callender A, Morris MD, Beck LW. Re-examination of hexafluorosilicate hydrolysis by fluoride NMR and pH measurement. Environ Sci Technol 2006;40:8:2572)
    The pharmacokinetics of ingested fluoride was studied by a 2008 study (G.M. Whitford, F.C. Sampaio, C.S. Pinto, A.G. Maria, V.E.S. Cardoso, M.A.R. Buzalaf, Pharmacokinetics of ingested fluoride: Lack of effect of chemical compound, Archives of Oral Biology, 53 (2008) 1037–1041)


    Fluoride ion is a fluoride ion is a fluoride ion, there is NO difference.

  11. Go Al! Thanks so much for your efforts. Recently the highly respected Cochrane Collaboration investigated the evidence supporting fluoridation (http://www.cochrane.org/CD010856/ORAL_water-fluoridation-to-prevent-tooth-decay). Having looked at some 150 studies they concluded:

    “There is very little contemporary evidence, meeting the review’s inclusion criteria, that has evaluated the effectiveness of water fluoridation for the prevention of caries.

    The available data come predominantly from studies conducted prior to 1975, and indicate that water fluoridation is effective at reducing caries levels in both deciduous and permanent dentition in children. Our confidence in the size of the effect estimates is limited by the observational nature of the study designs, the high risk of bias within the studies and, importantly, the applicability of the evidence to current lifestyles. The decision to implement a water fluoridation programme relies upon an understanding of the population’s oral health behaviour (e.g. use of fluoride toothpaste), the availability and uptake of other caries prevention strategies, their diet and consumption of tap water and the movement/migration of the population. There is insufficient evidence to determine whether water fluoridation results in a change in disparities in caries levels across SES. We did not identify any evidence, meeting the review’s inclusion criteria, to determine the effectiveness of water fluoridation for preventing caries in adults.”

  12. Congrats Al Oshlack – wish you all the best on your heroic charge.

    @ Steven Slott – No one’s choice of ingesting any substance should be taken away, period. There is no argument that can top that basic human right. If you want fluoride or dont want fluoride the choice should be the individuals.

    @ Chris Price – look around you – disease and illness are exploding – from the press yesterday the “autism explosion-leaves ndis in disorder”. Fluoride affects the brain and thyroid – look at the explosion at degenerative diseases related to these.

    I box competitively and train a lot, I drink about 4 liters of water a day, my partner drinks about 1.5. So how are we effectively controlling dosage ? What about my dog who weights 7kg – what is his effective dose ? Further the right to choose thee simple fact we cant control dosage – should be reason enough not to dump medication into our water supply.

  13. This is so BORING!
    You are intelligent people, why are you wasting your time on Fluoride?!
    Buy a water filter, problem solved. Now, let’s all move on to the fact that the natural world is dieing from overconsumption because of self-indulgent Western lifestyles.
    So much fiddling while Rome burns!!
    And Echo, PLEASE stop giving time to this nonsense. I am losing interest in this “paper” because you keep publishing crack pot stuff. What next? Chemtrails?

  14. Well! A tour de force from the idiot fringe. Great to see it all in the one spot. Pity about the abusive tone of many of the contributions. Still, that’s par for the course from people who habitually ignore and distort science to support their strange ideology. Sam has stated the position perfectly. While the idiot fringe is fiddling about fluoride, Rome is burning from an addiction to materialism.
    ‘Fringers’ give up your addiction to weird ideas. Here is a suggestion. Come to the Tweed (long time fluoride infusers) , look for all the effects of fluoride that you see in your nightmares, accept that they are all imaginary, then get a life and start making a noise about the threats to society in general being posed by rampant materialism.
    We would all be so much better off.

  15. I like that Vince, ‘come to the tweed and see the effects of flouride’ ahahahaha well said. Exactly! A success story if there ever was one.yep the Tweed, an absolute fountain bursting forth health, vitality, creativity, art, innovation, and one of the key places to source another edward snowden, nelson mandela, richard feynman, or robin williams. Bring on the flouride guzzling apparatus!

  16. No matter where you stand on fluoride, the fact of this matter is our basic human rights are being violated.
    Why were we not consulted by referendum on an issue that directly (and unavoidably) impacts the whole community?

    Under the Australian Constitution 51xxiiia Article 6, Section 1, of the UNESCO Univeral Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights, I DO NOT CONCENT to myself being treated with alleged preventative or therapeutic measures for dental health via my water supply.

    The Australian Constitution 51xxiiia states in part, “The provision of maternity allowances, widow’s pensions… medical and dental services (but nor as to authorise any form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family allowances.”

    Article 6, Section 1, of the UNESCO Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights states in part, “Any preventive, diagnostic and/or therapeutic intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information. The consent should, where appropriate, be expressed and may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice.”

    The addition of poisonous S6 fluoride to the public water supply in Lismore City Council and Ballina Shire Council areas for the alleged prevention of dental caries, in all forms and including sodium fluoride, fluorosilicic acid, sodium flourosilicate, hexafluorosilicic acid, hydrofluorosilicic acid and silicofluoric acid, which may contain arsenic, barium, lead, beryllium and/or polonium, be ceased and terminated immediately.

    Are we going to be forcibly medicated for other conditions? We are allowing a dangerous precedent to be set here. I certainly DO NOT GIVE MY CONSENT!


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