The Cairns City Council will remove fluoride from its water supply, saying it amounts to the “involuntary medication” of residents.
But the council says it won’t be doing anything to determine if there’s broad community support for fluoridation to continue.
“If people want to have access to fluoride, they need to take that up with their dentists,” a council spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
“The decision has been made … it shouldn’t be forced on people without consent.”
The council said it based its decision on the policy of the Local Government Association of Queensland.
The LGAQ said it supported the right of councils to decide if fluoride should be added to water and that the express consent of communities should be sought for processes such as fluoridation.
Asked about the Cairns council’s refusal to determine if community consent existed, LGAQ executive director Greg Hallam said: “That’s a mater for them. We’re not judge and jury.
“We’re not anti-fluoride and we don’t subscribe to a view that there’s any harm based on all the scientific studies around the world. Ours is a political and legal stance.”
The Queensland government last year changed laws that had required bigger communities to add fluoride to their water supplies.
That was despite warnings from the Australian Dental Association that would cause major dental health problems.
Premier Campbell Newman even said he personally supports fluoridation, but the issue was about restoring councils’ right to decide.
LNP MP Jason Woodforth last year said there was broad backbench support for the fluoride to be outlawed completely, telling the ABC it was a proven neurotoxin.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the change would save the council a significant amount of money.
Mr Manning said the council also supported the LGAQ’s position that oral health was a state government responsibility and “as such any financial burden should remain with the state”.
Fluoridation currently cost the council about $300,000 in chemicals, staffing, testing, electricity and infrastructure, he said.
Fluoride will stop being added to the Cairns water supply from the middle of next month.