Fluoride still flows in city as council considers issue
THE fluoride in Gladstone's drinking water looks like it will stay for now, with council making no plans to vote on removing it.
Earlier this week Gladstone Regional Council members met in a private briefing to hear from senior Queensland Health dentist Dr Michael Foley.
Anti-fluoride group Queenslanders for Safe Water also supplied material.
"Now it's really a case of councillors absorbing all the information they've had put to them," the council's chief executive officer Stuart Randle said.
"There isn't a decision actually needed to continue to fluoride, only a decision needed if they're to take it out."
While the costing breakdown for the Gladstone Area Water Board to add fluoride to our water is yet to be supplied, deputy mayor Matt Burnett estimates it to be about $10,000 a year.
"It costs the council minimal (amounts). I expected it to be much more," he said.
Rockhampton this week became the 14th Queensland council to remove fluoride since the Newman government handed the power over to local governments in December. Councillors there voted nine to two.
Rockhampton councillor Glenda Mather was strongly against fluoride, citing dementia and fluoride reasons, while Cr Bill Ludwig said the entire community should have been canvassed.
Queensland peak medical bodies Queensland Health and the Australian Medical Association support fluoridation.
Gladstone councillor Karen Porter said she would go with community consensus.
"I'm getting the feeling there's a couple vocal people out there who are very passionate, but the rest of the community is (unfazed) with it."
Concerned residents get together to fight "mass medication"
CONCERNED community members in Gladstone have gathered together to fight fluoride in our water supply, calling it "mass medication".
Gladstone resident Barbara Smith said she had researched the issue on the internet.
"I would never change my mind after what I've read," she said. "I've got all the information. There are so many websites."
Ms Smith said her aunt's death was due to fluoride in her thyroid gland, and fluoride may be linked to her mother's mild Alzheimer's.
Ms Smith said she hadn't spoken to any dentists.
"No, what's the use, they're all for it," she said.
Local dentist Remo Fanelli, from Fanelli Dental, has been a dentist for almost as long as he's been in Gladstone - 30 years.
Dr Fanelli said advocating fluoride was not about toeing a medical line.
"There's an ethical thing here," he said. "As a business, why wouldn't we want to get rid of fluoride? It would mean more business for us."
Ken Nicholson, 77, is another local voice strongly against fluoride.
"Basically I don't believe it's good for anybody's health," he said. "It's a toxic poison. They say it has benefits. In my mind that doesn't justify poison."
Dr Fanelli said fluoride was a naturally occurring element and there was no doubt a low dose helped reduce the incidence of decay.
"The biggest benefit by far is with the lower socio-economic groups," he said.
"It is a very cost-effective tool for people who can't afford dental treatment on a routine basis."