Beattie offers to pay fluoride costs
By LYNDAL GAWEN
TO FLUORIDE or not to fluo- ride, that is the question most councils around Queensland will ask their communities.
Acting on a Foster Report rec- ommendation, Premier Peter Beattie announced a scheme that will provide incentives for coun- cils to fluoridate water supplies.
The government has offered 100% rebate for towns, with a pop- ulation of over 5000, which intro- duce fluoride.
The initiative will apply for five years. There were 43 communities with 5000 or more people that could be fluoridate for a cost of $6 million, he said.
At the same time he assured Queenslanders: "We endorse the use of fluoridation but we won't force it on Queenslanders.''
Queensland communities still debate the pro's and con's of fluoridation: dentists say it prevents tooth decay, while activists argue that it is a toxic substance.
Sharon Telford, president Rockhampton sub-branch of the Australian Dental Association, said the announcement was "great.''
"Dental decay is preventable, we're in the business to stop that, we're not in the business of filling teeth,'' Ms Telford said.
On the other, hand advocate against the use of fluoride, Ian Ward, said: "If it is so good why do you have to create in- centives?''
Mr Ward, of Yeppoon, said that fluoride was a toxic chemical that was used in poisons, fertilisers that caused cancer, neurotoxicity and inhibited enzyme production in the body.
While Ms Telford believes no studies have been carried out to prove such claims, Mr Ward be- lieves organisations promoting fluoride have completed only low- level studies of the effects.