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Dec 15, 2012

Gympie’s authoritarian council keeps fluoride in water

It is difficult to imagine a more inefficient method to deliver a medication to children than to dissolve it in the water supply of a local authority.  Without going into the moral aspects of mass medication, the sheer stupidity of mixing it into the whole water supply most of which is used for lawns and gardens, industry, cleaning, washing, and flushing toilets is mind blowing. 
Way less than 1% is drunk, with less than a quarter of that by the targeted part of the population, children.  The rest goes straight down the drain, making the whole process dubious from the moral perspective, doubtful from the economic one, and suspect environmentally.
Now that the Queensland government has decided to allow freedom of choice on fluoridation, residents of the Gympie Regional Council were expecting a referendum on the subject, but council has refused this.  The most galling aspect to this is the arrogance expressed by councilors in their insistence that they should make the decisions for the community, not the community itself: 
A motion by Cr Ian Petersen to suspend fluoridation pending a referendum, drew ridicule from many councillors and was only supported by Mary Valley councillor Julie Walker. … 
"We are here because we need to make decisions for the community," pro-fluoride councillor Mark McDonald said.  "A lot of people don't even know this discussion is going on. They rely on us," he said.  He told the last Gympie Regional Council meeting of the year he firmly opposed any change.  "I believe fluoridation is good for the community and good for our children's teeth," he said. 
Various councillors described anti-fluoridation views as the work of "a noisy minority" and "conspiracy theorists".   
Cr Wayne Sachs said the council had a responsibility to continue with fluoridation.Cr Mick Curran said the current policy was supported by the World Health Organisation, the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Dental Association.  "We are not conducting compulsory mass medication.  "People have the option of drinking council water.  "They can drink tank water or purchase bottled water," he said. 
Cr Dyne said: "I think there is enough medical evidence to say it benefits children's teeth. We have an obligation to look after the community," Cr Dyne said.  "There is a noisy minority that will oppose it and who will oppose immunisation," he said. 
Cr Petersen's motion called for a referendum. "I am not qualified to decide which scientific argument is correct, but I am qualified to decide that the democratic process should prevail." 
Addressing Cr Dyne he said, "As a member of the LGAQ policy committee you would be aware of the policy position ... which states, 'it is a principle of ethical public health policy that mass involuntary medication must never proceed without the express consent of the community'."
The suggestion by the Mayor that opponents of fluoridation will also oppose immunization is trite and offensive, as is his talk of noisy minorities.  The poll taken with the report, which is admittedly unscientific, has that ‘noisy minority’ at 86% of the respondents.
With the exceptions of Crs Petersen and Walker appear to be arrogant and condescending towards the residents who oppose them on this issue.  The council’s ‘obligation to look after the community’ should only go as far as the provision and maintenance of roads and infrastructure.  We already have duplicated health services from the state and federal governments, and don’t need another.
Still, ratepayers should be glad that Crs Dyne, Perrett, Sachs, Curran, and company haven’t got a bee in their bonnets yet over the rate of depression in the community.  Who knows what might end up in the water if they did?

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