Council to make call on fluoride
CAIRNS Regional Council will decide today whether to give residents a say on fluoride in the local water supply an issue that almost evenly divides the community according to The Cairns Post's State of the Far North Survey.
It is unlikely ratepayers will be granted a costly referendum, but the council will consider a wide-reaching phone poll.
The emotive debate was reopened in November when the State Government ruled it was no longer mandatory for Queensland's councils to add fluoride to their water supplies.
The State of the Far North Survey, conducted last month, has revealed residents are torn on the issue, but the 1074 respondents were narrowly in favour of fluoride.
According to the poll, 45.6 per cent of respondents agree fluoride should be added to public drinking water, while 40.6 per cent disagree. Another 13.8 per cent were unsure.
Councillors will today vote either to continue adding fluoride to Cairns's water supplies, cease it and redeploy the valuable infrastructure, request further information or ask the community for its opinions.
The state's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young has written to CRC, urging councillors to consider the "significant oral health benefits" of fluoride before deciding to turn it off.
"Fluoridation has been proven as a safe and effective means of preventing tooth decay, for people of all ages, and is supported by peak health bodies," Dr Young stated.
She has also offered the services of oral health and public health experts to brief councillors on the benefits of fluoride, and to debunk common myths.
CRC councillors have also been presented with the arguments of anti-fluoride campaigners, who criticise the former Labor government's decision to impose fluoridation.
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