CRITICAL CONVERSATION: Kerry Chant, NSW chief health officer and deputy director general NSW Health.
CRITICAL CONVERSATION: Kerry Chant, NSW chief health officer and deputy director general NSW Health. Christian Morrow

Little support for fluoridation at meeting in Byron Bay

AROUND 120 people attended Wednesday night's meeting to discuss fluoridation of the water supply in Byron Shire.

This was the first series of Critical Conversations to be held at the Byron Theatre over coming months and comes ahead of an information session for Byron Shire councillors and staff next week.

Not many minds were changed at Wednesday's meeting.

With the two hour meeting also broadcast live on Bay FM, MC Mick O'Regan kept a tight rein on proceedings, appealing to participants to keep the dialogue respectful and questions to the point.

Pro-fluoride panel members included Dr Kerry Chant, NSW chief health officer and deputy director general NSW Health, toxicologist and Dean of The Graduate School of Medicine Wollongong University, Professor Alison Jones and Dr Brendan White, president Far North Division Australian Dentists Association NSW Branch.

Dr Chant told the meeting that the benefits of adding fluoride to Byron's water supply far outweighed any harm.

"The main point I hope people took away from the meeting is that water fluoridation is safe and effective," said Dr Chant.

"The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence supports community water fluoridation as a safe measure in the prevention of dental decay.

"There are no credible scientific studies establishing harms caused by fluoridation of water at the concentrations used in NSW."

Speakers opposed to water fluoridation included president and a co-founder of Queenslanders for Safe Water, Air and Food Inc, Marilyn Haines, agricultural scientist, Richard Staples, dentist, Dr.Robert Gammal BDSDr, former Rous Water chairperson, Ros Irwin, and Brunswick Heads dentist, Dr. Marcus O'Meara.

They reflected audience concerns that compulsory fluoridation was a form of mass medication using a chemical, fluoride, in which effects on human biology, were harmful.

"Ninety five percent of the world population does not drink fluoridated water and the dental health outcomes for those countries are roughly the same for those who drink fluoridated water," said Merilyn Haines


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