Byron Shire excludes self from fluoridation scheme

There’s something in the water on the Far North Coast of NSW and it is not fluoride, suggests The Sydney Morning Herald (19 July 2006 p3).

Hate campaign removes White smile: Since calling for the fluoridation of water supplies for Lismore City, Richmond Valley, Ballina Shire and Byron Shire councils last year, an Australian Dental Association representative, Brendan White, has become the target of a hate campaign.

Physical threats: Angry residents have thrown rocks at his house and made abusive, anonymous phone calls to his family. So heated has the matter become that in the latest incident, a woman urinated on the doorstep of his Lismore dental practice.

Ballina has second thoughts: The first three councils have resolved to introduce fluoride into the water system, although a group of councillors at Ballina recently lodged a motion to rescind the resolution.

NSW close on heels of Tas: After Tasmania, where 91 per cent of the population has fluoridated drinking water, NSW has the second highest rate of fluoridated water, figures from NSW Health show.

Qld not keen: By contrast, less than 5 per cent of Queenslanders have fluoridated water.

Health stats indicate good for kids: Since 2003, more than 10 NSW councils have started to fluoridate their water. A 10-year study in the Blue Mountains, where fluoride was introduced in 1993, revealed a 75 per cent reduction in tooth decay for nine- to 11-year-olds and a 73 per cent reduction for six- to eight-year-olds.

Maybe a bit of fluoride wouldn’t be a bad thing? The Far North Coast of NSW has the state’s worst rate of dental decay for 12-year-olds and the second worst for five year-olds, said the NSW Health oral health project manager, John Irving.

If Byron holds out, costs will inflate: Rous Water, which supplies water to the four coastal councils, will meet on 19 July to discuss the next step in the fluoridation process. Because Byron Shire has excluded itself, the set-up costs are likely to rise from about $500,000 to $1 million.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19/7/2006, p. 3

Source: Erisk Net  

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