Death threats in paradise

Debate has gotten dangerous in Byron Bay.
Debate has gotten dangerous in Byron Bay.

Following the recent decisions by Lismore and Ballina councils to fluoridate their drinking water, Byron Shire Council remains the Rous Water hold-out—but they’ve agreed to revisit the issue. The council recently resolved to hold a non-public workshop within the next four weeks to discuss the issue of fluoridation of the shire’s water supply. Councillors, specialists and staff will attend to hear an hour-long pro-fluoride presentation and an hour-long anti-fluoride presentation followed by an hour for questions.

According to local media, the decision to hold the workshop came in response to an urgency motion introduced by Deputy Mayor Dianne Woods. The pro-science side of the debate will be presented by NSW chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant. As Lismore and Ballina councils have already changed their positions on fluoridation Byron remains the odd council out in the Rous Water supply area.

According to the ABC, if that stance remains unchanged, more than $2 million will have to be spent building dosing plants to keep the chemical out of Byron Bay’s water supply.

Meanwhile, another newspaper has reported that police are investigating death threats made against Dr Chant following her appearance at the Lismore council meeting earlier this month.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that messages appeared on the Facebook page of anti-fluoridation fringe-group ‘No Fluoride Australia’ which read, “Expect to be threatened! The community is angry, it wouldn’t surprise me if these criminals pretending to be authorties (sic) on health start going missing, eventually members of the public will snap and take matters into their own hands, its only a matter of time. People go missing over far more trivial issues.”

The newspaper also reported Dr Chant was also threatened with sarin gas by anti-fluoride activists after she spoke at a heated Lismore Council meeting. Health Minister Jillian Skinner has referred the material to the NSW police and had asked the Health Care Complaints Commission to investigate as well.

“I have written to the Health Care Complaints Commissioner asking the commission to investigate ‘No Fluoride Australia’ as I am concerned they are providing misinformation to the public on the effect of fluoride in water supplies,” Ms Skinner told the newspaper.

Dr Chant told the Sunday Telegraph she is unswayed by the threats. “As NSW Chief Health Officer I acknowledge diverse community opinions and feedback on the issue of fluoridation of water. The addition of fluoride to water is an important health issue and I encourage robust debate and discussion on the topic.”

Opposition health spokesman Andrew McDonald said Dr Chant is getting a taste of what local councillors have endured for years when they support fluoridation of water. That is why Dr McDonald put forward his private bill to make fluoridation a state responsibility which urges Premier Barry O’Farrell to seize control of water fluoridation from councils.

The government has refused to back the bill in favour of giving councils $7.5 million sweetener for fluoridation infrastructure.

The ADA reiterated its position on fluoridation during the Federal election campaign, with President Dr Karin Alexander saying, “Water fluoridation is safe and offers oral health benefits for all people regardless of whether they are rich or poor. Not having fluoride in drinking water will cost the community more in the form of higher incidence of dental decay. Public hospital and private practice dentists will be placed in a position where they will be required to treat more cases of dental emergencies which could have been prevented through water fluoridation. After treating these dental emergencies, dentists will then need to apply fluoride to prevent future problems! This farcical situation is likely greater in areas where fluoride has been removed from water supplies.”

The ADA called on the Federal government to make fluoridation a condition of funding the states and territories.

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  1. It seems as though fluoride is toxic, after all:

    As fluoride is exceedingly toxic when undiluted, at what level of dilution does it become demonstrably harmless to a population whose water has been medicated with it, without consent? By what scientific means has this threshold been established?

    As the for the HCCC, a lot could be said about its handling of Graeme Reeves in Bega. I had an elderly friend in a NSW hospital who was more or less dragged to the shower with a broken leg by a nurse who was unmoved by her screams of agony. This was later dismissed by the HCCC as a ‘training issue.’

    The HCCC’s latest wheeze (December 2013) is to propose censoring comment about mainstream medicine, ‘preventative medicine’ and some or all forms of naturopathy. How DARE we live in a democracy where people are permitted to discuss fluoride!


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