Following a decision from the Mackay City Council to remove fluoride from its water supply, the Queensland government is facing calls to make fluoridation a compulsory practice.
Mackay is only the latest in councils to make the controversial choice, with a 6-5 vote passed Wednesday morning; after a number of opinion polls indicated residents were in favour of the decision.
Mackay Mayor Greg Wiliamson, believes it is whats best for the town, saying in a recent statement that it is the result of months of research and public polling.
“Everybody made a decision based on their research and the people that they’ve spoken to along the way,” he said.
“For me the decision was that everybody I’ve spoken to, all the groups, I’ve spoken to, wanted it removed from the water supply.”
“As a local council public health is not our domain. We should not be in this position but we are and so we had to make a decision.”
This decision now means that only 24 of Queensland’s 77 councils will continue adding fluoride to their water supply.
A statistic that Chairman for the Australian Medical Association Queensland, Dr Shaun Rudd, says is deeply regrettable.
“I think it’s a very sad decision,” Dr Rudd said.
“I think that when you have a known safe way to prevent, especially kids, from teeth decay, you should go with it.”
However according to many Mackay residents, the choice whether or not to take fluoride is the underlying issue.
“We should have a choice on what we put into our bodies,” North Mackay resident Zara Yule said.
“If people want to protect their teeth its up to the individual not the government to be forcing it upon us.”
Under legislation passed under Anna Bligh in 2008, Queensland towns with populations of more than 1,000 were required to have their water supplies fluoridated, however this changed when the Liberal National government led by Campbell Newman reversed the requirement in 2012.
According to the Queensland Health Department, the fluoridation of drinking water is an effective, efficient and safe measure to prevent tooth decay.
More than 150 major health organisations, including the World Health Organisation, also support water fluoridation.