In the same week as a Queensland council passed a motion to remove fluoride from its drinking water Bega Valley Shire Council viewed a presentation by a dentist against its addition to the shire’s water system.
Last Tuesday, Gladstone Regional Council voted to remove the ion from the region’s water, with the move expected to take 40 days.
On Wednesday, Merimbula dentist Maria Claudianos presented her professional opinion on the move, which was met by applause from the crowd in the chamber.
Invited by the Clean Water for Life group, the Tathra resident said there is no need for water fluoridation, as global decay rates are dropping equally whether fluoride is present in drinking water or not, and was concerned about consumption by children under three.
She said dental health programs in non-fluoridated Denmark, including education around flossing and brushing have put the nation at the top of global health ratings.
Following the presentation, councillor Liz Seckold raised the question of a need for local studies into dental hygiene, while for Mayor Michael Britten the argument over industrial grade fluoride use versus pharmaceutical grade became a talking point.
One local woman who couldn’t make the presentation, but is vehemently against the fluoridation of drinking water is a former Bega resident who now calls Merimbula home.
Shirley Rixon suffered from kidney scarring after childbirth and she said doctors were left “scratching their heads” when it came to her treatment.
“After the birth my kidneys felt like I was constantly in labour,” she said.
Ms Rixon was living in Canberra at the time before moving back to Bega in the mid 1980s.
After moving to a house “right under the water tower” she was told the colour and taste was due to fluoride.
This revelation moved Ms Rixon to ask a friend to supply her with rain water.
She said her doctor and urologist were amazed by the results of her experiment.
“Five weeks after I started drinking tank water the pain just disappeared,” she said.
“My GP now doesn’t believe I ever had kidney damage because of how they’ve repaired.”
Ms Rixon says she still drinks natural spring water to this day.
“I was horrified when I found out they were looking at putting it in the water down here,” she said.
“They say it’s for your teeth, but they don’t look at the other organs of the body.”
As part of council’s ongoing consultation process before any decision, it’s understood NSW Health is scheduled to make a presentation in coming weeks.