Council says no to health study before fluoride vote

A FURTHER delay before a decision on putting fluoride in Oberon’s water has been rejected by Oberon Council.

Councillor Brenda Lyon moved a motion at Tuesday night’s council meeting seeking a health study before council makes a call on the contentious issue.

Her motion was for council not to proceed with the fluoridation of the town water supply “until the extent of the problem has been quantified by adequate local research and that the council commit to an appropriate and adequate means of collecting the required data and, if necessary, formulate a plan of action acceptable to the majority of the community to address any issue relating to dental health that arises as the result of the survey”.

Cr Lyon's motion said it was difficult to make a call when expert opinion from both sides was conflicting and "it is not appropriate to make a decision affecting the community based on anecdotal and emotional information”.

"It is essential the council establish a local database on which to base the decision due to the high level of community conflict. The last study was carried out 10 years ago. We should spend $5000 to $6000 on a health study," Cr Lyon said.

Cr Clive McCarthy asked where dental therapist Jenny James and others were getting their figures. 

"Are they from Black Springs, Burraga or other outlying areas? My children have great teeth, as they took fluoride tablets, but now they are banned," he said.

Cr Mark Kellam spoke against the motion.

"We have heard all the pros and cons for fluoridation. There has been a lot of information circulating. A proper survey will cost money,” he said.

Cr Ian Doney said the issue should be dealt with as a “socio-economic challenge in education, hygiene and intervention”.

Mayor Kathy Sajowitz, who had the last say, said there was no information as to who would fund a survey.

"Council does not have the experience, finance, expertise or funds - that's why I'm against this motion," she said.

The motion was put to a vote and defeated.

A decision on fluoridation will be made at council's July 17 meeting.