Ballina to remain fluoride free

Plans to fluoridate Ballinas water supply went down the gurgler last week when Ballina Council reversed an earlier decision to support it.

Before the fiery debate began in front of a packed gallery, Ilga Sleja of the Ballina Fluoride Free Network presented Council with a petition of more than 1000 signatures and 409 letters against fluoridation.

The decision to reject fluoride was supported by all but three councillors Phillip Silver, Peter Moore and Sharon Cadwallader who said socially disadvantaged children would be the ones suffering if they didnt vote for fluoride. Cr Alan Brown subsequently questioned why the government had failed to target oral health for disadvantaged 0-6 year olds.

Instead they ask us all of us unqualified to decide, he said. I dont believe Im qualified to make a decision for people to be forced to take some material thats going to affect their health. I cannot support the introduction of fluoride despite evidence it does some good.

Rous Water now faces the logistical problem of fluoridating Lismore and Richmond Valley water supplies while keeping Ballina and Byron fluoride-free.

Rous general manager, Paul Muldoon, said it was now up to NSW Health to review the situation and address the issue of cost. He was also unsure about when fluoridation would begin.

Its more expensive to dose just two areas with fluoride than it would be to do the whole lot, Mr Muldoon said. However, it can technically be done. We will continue through the process with NSW Health. There are a number of issues to be addressed, so I dont expect it will happen soon.


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