Campaign taps fluoride fears
Plans to introduce fluoridate to water supplies in north West Australia have led to a backlash from residents.
A social media campaign has been launched by Flouride Free WA to bring together the concerns of locals.
But the WA Government says it still hopes to boost access to fluoridated water from 91 per cent of the population to 97 per cent in 10 years.
These plans should see fluoride added to the water supply of the towns of Newman and Kununurra in 2017.
Dr Michael Foley from the Australian Dental Association says evidence has repeatedly shown that water fluoridation is safe and provides benefits for oral health.
“The evidence is that people in fluoridated communities have far less tooth decay than people in non-fluoridated communities,” Dr Foley told the ABC.
“We know that if we have levels that are at about 0.5 up to one part per million — so, a tiny little bit — it strengthens people's teeth.
“A little bit of that fluoride will actually soak into the enamel on your teeth, even if it's only in your mouth for a few seconds, and it makes your teeth more acid resistant, more resistant to decay.”
The expert did acknowledge that high fluoride levels carried negative health impacts, but said Australia was protected by a carefully regulated public health sector.
“At the levels we're talking about in Australia, it is a very, very safe public health measure,” he said.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) says health fears of water fluoridation are unfounded.
“Quite the opposite — not fluoridating water is a risk to our health,” AMA president Michael Gannon said.
“What we do see is selective misquoting of really quite poorly performed research,” he said.