NEUTRAL STANCE: Wayne Franklin, Rous Water’s technical services director, inside the Corndale fluoridation plant.
NEUTRAL STANCE: Wayne Franklin, Rous Water’s technical services director, inside the Corndale fluoridation plant. Luke Mortimer

Fluoridation imminent in Lismore and Ballina

LISMORE, Ballina and surrounds' water supply will be fluoridated as early as August, despite the protests of some local residents.

Fluoridation of water supplies, which will not occur in Nimbin or Byron, has been a divisive topic locally in recent months, with several protests occurring outside Rous Water's Lismore office and at some of the fluoridation plant sites.

Reasons vocalised by protestors included opposition against "mass medication", varied health concerns, claims the fluoride planned for use is an industrial waste product and the belief water fluoridation will undermine the importance of responsible dental hygiene.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell was allegedly attacked by a woman during Lantern Parade festivities earlier this month after a heated discussion about Lismore City Council's water fluoridation plans.

It is understood the woman alleged to be responsible claims to suffer from hyperthyroidism, which she believed will be impacted by water fluoridation.

Meanwhile, Rous Water technical services director Wayne Franklin said contractors have been testing the four new NSW Health-funded fluoridation plants at Corndale, Knockrow, Dorroughby and Clunes.

The windowless structures have been built with thick concrete slabs to withstand vandalism and any potential security breaches.

"Next week contractors will demonstrate to us that the plants function properly," Mr Franklin said.

"After that, the NSW Office of Water will come out to commission the plants and then, if all goes well, they'll recommend we be given approval to begin fluoridation.

"I'm thinking, at this stage, by August we'll have it all turned on."

Mr Franklin said he personally receives about one call per day regarding local water fluoridation.

"Generally, the calls are from people who have an issue with fluoridation," he said.

"Largely, they are people who, rightly or wrongly, have a health concern.

"I think you can generally say that judging by the North Coast's reactions to things it doesn't like, it's a small reaction.

"In my personal opinion, it seems to be a hot topic for a few people, but not a lot of people."

Mr Franklin noted Rous Water had a neutral stance on the issue of water fluoridation and was simply following directions from NSW Health.


Lismore Dentist Welcomes Water Fluoridation

A LISMORE dentist of two decades, who is also president of the North Coast division of the Australian Dental Association NSW, has welcomed the introduction of water fluoridation.

Dr Brendan White said within five years there will be a noticeable decline in tooth decay in Lismore, Ballina and surrounds.

When asked whether he has reservations about water fluoridation, Mr White said recent studies had shown it has benefits for dental hygiene, and he had no concerns regarding general health.

However, he noted water fluoridation won't replace the need to maintain proper dental hygiene - including brushing twice a day and regularly flossing.

Long-time Lismore resident Omega Breakspear has organised many of the local rallies against water fluoridation.

While some protesters have aired worries water fluoridation will have various adverse health effects, Ms Breakspear was mainly concerned the majority of treated water will flow off into the natural environment, with debatable negative effects.

She worried some of the fluoride to be used (sodium silicofluoride to be used at the Corndale and Knockrow plants) was "an industrial by-product" with harmful contaminants.

Northern NSW Local Health District did not answer questions about protester concerns, directing the Echo to its website.


Fluoride Facts

  • Added to water supplies in an effort to prevent tooth decay.
  • About 95% of NSW access fluoridated water.
  • Some studies indicate fluoridated toothpaste makes water fluoridation unneeded.

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