Letters to the editor: Thursday, December 7

HOT DEBATE: An open letter to Gunnedah councillors is encouraging them to vote in favour of adding fluroride to the water supply.
HOT DEBATE: An open letter to Gunnedah councillors is encouraging them to vote in favour of adding fluroride to the water supply.

Open letter to council

Dear Councillors,

The signatories to this letter are expert health organisations and peak and professional bodies committed to improving the health of all Australians.

We write today to express our support for water fluoridation as a safe, cost-effective and equitable public health measure. Good oral health is vital for good overall health, and water fluoridation is the most effective way to reduce tooth decay in all members of the community, regardless of their age, socioeconomic background or ability to access dental care.

Community water fluoridation began in Australia in the 1950s and is supported by every state, territory and federal health department in Australia. Water fluoridation is safe, with around 89 per cent of Australians – including 93 per cent of residents in NSW – now having access to fluoridated water and the oral health benefits it provides.

For decades, reputable research studies here and overseas have consistently shown that water fluoridation helps prevent tooth decay. This finding has just been reaffirmed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), which provides the Australian community with health advice based on the best available scientific evidence.

In November the NHMRC released its latest statement on Water Fluoridation and Human Health in Australia, saying: “There is reliable evidence that community water fluoridation helps to prevent tooth decay.”

Importantly, the NHMRC also states: “There is no reliable evidence of an association between community water fluoridation at current Australian levels and any health problems” – including cancer, lowered intelligence, hip fracture, osteoporosis, and thyroid problems.

Water fluoridation has had an enormous impact on improving Australians’ oral health over the past 60 years. The vast majority of the country enjoys the health benefits of fluoridation. The residents of Gunnedah deserve those same advantages.

We urge Gunnedah Shire Council to support water fluoridation, and encourage members of the community to voice their support at www.gunnedahfluoride.com.au by this Friday, December 8.

The President of the Australian Dental Association NSW, Dr Neil Peppitt, The President of the Australian Medical Association NSW, Professor Brad Frankum, The interim CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance, Mark Diamond, The CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, Martin Laverty, The CEO of the Public Health Association and President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations, Michael Moore AM, The CEO of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, Alison Verhoeven, The CEO of the NSW Council of Social Service, Tracy McLeod Howe, The CEO of Arthritis Australia, Ainslie Cahill, The Director of the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, Professor Marco Peres, The President of the Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry, Dr Philippa Sawyer, The Co-Chairs of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future, ANZ Chapter, Adjunct Professor Kaye Roberts-Thomson and Associate Professor Wendell Evans, The President of the Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association, Tan Nguyen,The National President of the Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, Kathryn Novak

Sports stadiums

Premier Berejiklian’s decision to spend $2.5 billion on demolishing and then rebuilding two sports stadiums in Sydney reflects the wrong priorities. This is money that should be spent on our schools and hospitals. It is wasteful spending that can’t be justified. It is an insult to communities across our state. Just think what $2.5 billion could do for our schools, hospitals and TAFEs. It is a dreadful misallocation of money that is out of touch with community values.

Luke Foley MP, Leader of Labor Party