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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Residents, not councillors, should determine fluoride issue

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Ballina Shire Council’s town drinking water is about to have fluoride added to it at a cost of over $100,000 per year.

This is despite less than one per cent of that water actually being used for drinking, and a worldwide trend of removing it from local water supplies.

At this week’s (Thursday 27 August) council meeting, I’m again asking the councillors to support a community poll at the next local government election to determine whether the majority of residents are in favour of adding fluoride to the water.

The cost of such a poll would be approximately $15,000. For a small increase to this cost council could also ask the community other important questions.

Dental hygiene is an important issue but adding fluoride to the water is not the solution.

If Ballina Council feels that it should play a positive role in this area of public health, then I believe part of the $100,000 per year would be much better spent on an educational program in conjunction with local infant and primary schools, said Mr. Johnson.

A comprehensive study conducted in the US showed only a small difference in the level of tooth decay between communities who had lived all their lives in fluoridated areas when compared to non-fluoridated areas. The difference was not clinically nor statistically significant, said Councillor Johnson

I’m not disputing the benefits of applying fluoride topically (directly to the teeth), said Mr. Johnson. However I am saying that the main causes of tooth decay relate to diet and behaviour, and not the level of fluoride in the drinking water, said Mr. Johnson

I’m a great believer in direct democracy and local elections provide a cost effective opportunity for local communities to determine their position on controversial issues such as fluoride, What better way to conduct a comprehensive survey of local residents? said Mr. Johnson.

In the future polls could take on an electronic format but at the moment local government elections are the time to do it, said Mr. Johnson.

If the outcome of the poll is that the majority of residents don’t want fluoride added to the water supply, then the next Council should take all necessary actions to remove it, said Mr. Johnson.

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  1. And why would you spend the money to add fluoride to the entire water system when less than 1% of the water used is for drinking? 99% of the fluoride added to drinking water goes directly down the drain in toilets, showers, dishwashers, etc. What a waste of tax money.

    Of $100,000 annual cost, people would drink $1000 of the toxic chemical and $99,000 would be wasted directly down the drain. If you doubt this, ask any Civil Engineer or any water manager.

    • The “wasted on lawn care” argument that anti-fluoride activists make is so ridiculous. Folic acid is added to breads and cereals even though we know that some slices of bread will get stale and be tossed out (instead of being eaten). Chlorine is still added to water even though we know that not all water is consumed. So what? It improves health and it’s cost-effective.

      If all water were consumed, we’d save even more money, but most people would
      agree that saving $38 for every dollar spent on fluoridation is a damn good

  2. Living in Melbourne, we have spent in excess of $10K on rainwater tanks, plumbing into our house, filters and the ongoing cost of filter replacements. It’s been an expensive process but we have the luxury of water uncontaminated by fluoride and other toxic chemicals including arsenic, cadmium and lead (according to the Australia Drinking Water Standards). I’m not against fluoride, those who believe it’s good for you can take as much of it as they wish but everybody should have a choice about it. Forcing the consumption of poisons on people who do not wish to consume them is so very un-Australian! I still find it hard to work out why people would want to do this.

  3. Justice Hansen made this argument in his recent judgment on the fluoridation issue [Hansen 2014] South Taranaki court case
    “Providing it does not have consequences for public health, a person has the right to make even the poorest decisions in respect of their own health. But where the state, either directly or through local government, employs public health interventions, the right is not engaged. Were it otherwise, the individuals right to refuse would become the individuals right to decide outcomes for others. It would give any person a right of veto over public health measures, which it is not only the right, but, often the responsibility of local authorities to deliver”


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