MURKY WATERS: Mayor Matt Burnett and deputy mayor Chris Trevor were on opposing sides last time the fluoride debate was brought up in Gladstone.
MURKY WATERS: Mayor Matt Burnett and deputy mayor Chris Trevor were on opposing sides last time the fluoride debate was brought up in Gladstone. Paul Braven GLA090317PHILIPS

FLUORIDE DEBATE: Deputy mayor calls for vote this year

THE fluoride debate is set to rear its head in Gladstone again, with Chris Trevor calling for a new vote on if it should be added to the region's water supply.

The deputy mayor hopes another vote will take place before Christmas, with the consideration of research on fluoride released last year.

If it goes ahead it would be the council's third vote on the matter, with the last held in 2016, which prompted the fluoride taps to be turned off.

The Gladstone Regional Council has also received pressure from the Australian Dental Association Queensland and the Australian Medical Association Queensland recently to overturn the two-year-old decision. The medical bodies have urged councils to stop condemning residents to the "dental dark ages".

"It is a travesty that this council abandoned fluoridation before the long-term benefits for the community became apparent," AMA Queensland president Dr Dilip Dhupelia said.

Cr Trevor wants the councillors to consider the National Health and Medical Research's report, Water fluoridation: Dental and other human health outcomes, which was released in July 2017.

Gladstone deputy mayor Chris Trevor has called for a new vote on fluoridating the region's water.
Gladstone deputy mayor Chris Trevor has called for a new vote on fluoridating the region's water. Crystal Jones

It found water fluoridation helped to reduce tooth decay in children and adults.

"I don't want to antagonise those who oppose the view that fluoride should be reintroduced, but in my opinion there is overwhelming evidence that fluoride should be returned to our water supply," Cr Trevor said.

"There has been further medical evidence available since our decision was made, and I believe that is sufficient grounds for the matter to be brought back before the council for consideration."

Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett did not respond to The Observer's questions as to what it would take for the council to have a new vote on fluoride.

Instead he pointed the finger at the State Government, saying fluoridating water should be a public health matter.

"Fluoridation of the public water supply is a State health issue and, as such, should be legislated by the State Government, which should also meet all costs involved with implementing the process," Cr Burnett said.

Fluoride was added to Gladstone's water supply in November 2009.

In 2012, then Queensland premier Campbell Newman announced a legislative amendment that handed councils the power to cease fluoridation.

In July 2016, Gladstone became among the 29 Queensland councils to reject fluoridation, with the motion winning five votes to three.

Crs Trevor, Cindi Bush and Rick Hansen were against the decision.

The vote was met with applause by the crowd in the chamber from campaigners who called for the removal of fluoride, citing issues with "mass medication" and other health concerns they said were caused by the consumption of it.

Among the campaigners was the still-active Gladstone Area Fluoride Free group, which now has 524 "likes" on Facebook.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service public health unit director Dr Gulam Khandaker said fluoride was scientifically proven by national and international health bodies to protect against tooth decay.

"The most credible source of health literature, the Cochrane Review, reports that fluoridation in water reduces cavities in children by 35 per cent in their baby teeth, and 26 per cent in their permanent teeth," he said.



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