Bega Valley Shire Council released the results of their NSW Health funded community survey on adding fluoride to drinking water late on Monday.
The region has spoken. Well, the ANU’s Social Research Centre has at least provided an outline of what residents thoughts are on the topic, via a telephone survey, where some residents were reported to have had trouble calling back the number after receiving a missed call.
Residents were asked whether they “agree with adding fluoride to the public drinking water supply to try to prevent tooth decay?”.
The survey found over 66 per cent of people did agree, 28.4 per cent did not, five per cent were unsure of their answer and 0.2 per cent did not respond.
Of 17,500 households, just 500 individuals were asked during the survey.
So of a population of 33,253 (from the last Census), just 1.5 per cent of people were surveyed.
Of those surveyed 57.5 per cent rely on public water and 24.6 on self sufficient tank water.
At almost 80 per cent, the research found those “who reported their main source of normal drinking water to be the public supply were significantly more likely to be in agreement with the suggestion of adding fluoride to the public drinking water supply”.
However, respondents who have other sources of drinking water were proportionally less in support of fluoride at 51.5 per cent.
It makes sense you would support what you know.
With almost 30 per cent of those surveyed not in support of fluoride’s addition to drinking water, it is perhaps higher than if the same survey was completed when it was added to Bega’s and Tathra’s water over 50 years ago.
There is a dedicated movement against it’s addition in the region, and petitions are still being signed against the move.
The results of the survey will be reported on to council for their meeting on February 21, and the next step will no doubt be as intriguing as each step of the proposal so far.
The design of the survey was to gauge “public sentiment”, now it has been surveyed will a council vote on the issue reflect these percentages?
Sixty per cent of councillors would be just over five voting in favour of the addition of fluoride, which would mean it will be added.
I’m sure a lot more is still to come from this issue.