Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has recently backed down on the issue of water fluoridation, claiming the Labor government isn’t going to force local councils to change their stance on fluoride.
Under the Newman government, the fluoridation of water was made optional for local councils, leading to a significant drop in coverage from 90% to 79%.
This is in stark contrast to Ms Palaszczuk’s 2013 stance on fluoridation, where she accused the Newman government of “allowing [these] councils to take Queensland backwards”.
The Palaszczuk government defended their decision citing a 2007 report claiming fluoride caused no negative health effects aside from a slight increase in dental fluorosis.
Fears regarding the fluoridation of water often link the increases in the incidences of cancer, allergies and arthritis, all of which have been debunked.
Similarly, a study by the University Of Queensland conducted in the Logan-Beaudesert area released this March revealed the introduction of fluoride in 2008 had decreased the risk of tooth-decay and related issues had reduced by 54%.
Minister for Health, Cameron Dick stated “The Premier has made it clear that we support the fluoridation of water because there is clear evidence pointing to health benefits.”
“We know the benefits from having fluoride in water and we will continue to speak with councils about this.”
A spokesperson for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) stated “Fluoridation of drinking water remains the most effective and socially equitable means of achieving community-wide exposure to the caries prevention effects of fluoride”.
The NHMRC is currently writing a review on the benefits of fluoridation, due to be released in early 2016.