To fluoride or not to fluoride, that is the question for Gladstone

BARB Smith said it was "about bloody time" the council took action to remove fluoride from Gladstone's water supply.

As an administrator of the anti-fluoride group, Gladstone Area Fluoride Free, Mrs Smith ramped up her lobbying efforts at the most recent council election and approached the current councillors to gauge where they stood on the issue.

Barbara Smith is strongly apposed to flouride in the water in Gladstone.Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer
Barbara Smith is strongly apposed to flouride in the water in Gladstone.Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer Brenda Strong GLA150513WATR

And, by her count, when councillors meet next Tuesday to decide on whether to remove fluoride from the water supply there are only two councillors who would vote to block the motion she supports.

Councillor Kahn Goodluck will table a motion at the next general council meeting advising Gladstone Area Water Board the council "has decided that it no longer wants to continue with the practice of having fluoride added to the council's drinking water".

Mayor Matt Burnett has made it clear he would vote to remove fluoride but said his decision was based on a belief that the responsibility of adding fluoride should rest on the State Government's shoulders.

When Australian Dental Association Queensland spokesman Dr Michael Foley saw Cr Goodluck's notice of motion he said he was "appalled" and felt the "new council had been swayed" by a vocal minority.

"(Adding fluoride to the water) has been one of the greatest public health achievements in the last 100 years and for the council to think about taking it out is very strange," he said.

Kahn Goodluck
Kahn Goodluck


"I feel sorry for the people of Gladstone because their teeth will suffer if the council votes to remove what is an extremely safe and effective measure that improves dental health.

"But it seems very surprising the council would make a decision without consulting Queensland Health."

Cr Goodluck said he had communicated with Dr Foley before tabling his motion and had done his research.

"I'm not denying the health benefits argued by medical professionals," he said.

"My opinion is on the ethical side (and I) have an issue with governments forcibly imposing themselves on people."

Local dentist Rangi Perera said the council should not remove fluoride from the town's water supply because there was a significant difference in the health of children's teeth who did not have fluoride in their drinking water.

"Fluoride is like a safety helmet for kids' teeth and adding that small amount makes their teeth much stronger," she said.

"The anti-fluoride campaign talk about toxicity [but] you would have to swallow a whole tube of toothpaste in one go for it be toxic."

Fluoride was added to Gladstone's water supply in November 2009 and in 2013 the council voted to continue adding fluoride to the water.

But it was after fluoride was added to Gladstone's water that Mrs Smith said she started suffering from "severe skin problems".

At the time she did not know what was causing lesions on her body but, after visiting a private doctor in Rockhampton who advised her to cut fluoride out of her life, she said her skin had cleared.

Mrs Smith has added filters to her shower head and bought a $650 reverse-osmosis water-filtration system to avoid coming into contact with fluoride.

"As soon as I stopped the fluoride the lesions stopped," Mrs Smith said.

"The only problem is that I wash my hands a lot so everything has cleared up apart from my hands.

"They're a little bit scaly."

Gladstone Area Fluoride Free has 348 likes on Facebook and Mrs Smith said more people in town were coming around to her way of thinking, apart from a few doctors.

"What fool would think you could drink one drop of poison and get away with it," she said.

In Queensland 8308 people voted for The Health Australia Party in the Senate, which listed removing fluoride from water as one of its core policies.

What you said online:

Kelly Abell - Thank god!! Because of my thyroid and autoimmune diseases, I can't have fluoride.. It is seriously harmful to me. I have to buy my water, but can't avoid it in the shower or cleaning my teeth!

I am so grateful, as I'm sure others will be!

Bryon Ford - Drinking water consists of 2 elements, let's keep it that way. But no mention of the chlorine... Having eczema flair up every time I get out of a shower isn't exactly comfortable. I suppose it's a step in the right direction though

Ruby Schulze - About time that we can decide for ourselves whether we want to have fluoride in our bodies or not.. always someone telling others what they can and cannot do!

Vinnie N Sherrie - Wearing a tinfoil hat can negate all possible side effects of fluoridated water

Justin Venn - Honestly you have to have rocks in your head to even consider removing it from our water supply. Going against every world health organisation recommendation is like say the earth is flat. Since when did Pauline Hanson style politics creep into council decision.

Desley Jensen - If you want flouride, then take it yourself. No one has the right to force you take something you don't want

Brad Patfield - In 20 years time Instead of saying look at those English teeth we can now say , Omg Gladstone teeth...

Nicole Marie - What's with the fluoride? We have enough toxins in the town and region please don't add more

Mark Dunnett - Who needs teeth anyway?

Wes Paul Stops - Time to start pricing up some shiny new dentures.

Jen Jess - Get rid of it. Wish they would here in Brisbane.

Rochelle Liggins - The Dentists will make a killing

Paul Christopher - Yes! No more poison in our water!

Jeffrey Lake - .... Wow, just wow. A win for the tin foil hatters club.

Lorenzo Benedetto - Win for the uneducated and anti vaxxers.... you should have to pass a test before you're allowed to vote.....

Josh Ashcroft Tap water is one of the main causes of autoimmune deseases from chlorine and floride

Cassandra Naggs - AGREE!!! No Fluoride!!!

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