WHITSUNDAY residents Andrew Finlay and Chyina Lee have started a petition in an effort to stop fluoridation of the region's water supply.
Mr Finlay, who has been researching the controversial topic, both on the internet and through a documentary film called 'Firewater', says in his opinion fluoride and particularly the commonly used compound hyrofluosilicic acid, is a "poison".
"It's a highly corrosive, dangerous chemical in its concentrated form," he said.
Mr Finlay says according to his sources, hyrofluosilicic acid is a by-product of phosphate fertilizer, manufactured by a company in Geelong.
"If people found out it was coming from a fertilizer company, I think they would ask a lot more [questions]," he said.
While fluoride also occurs in natural and pharmaceutical grade forms, Mr Finlay says he wouldn't support its addition to the water supply in any form "because it's already in toothpaste and it's in our salt".
"There's already enough of it," he said.
However, the immediate past president of the Australian Dental Association (ADA) Queensland branch, Dr Andrew Wong, says there are three compounds that have been approved for water fluoridation use, these being hydrofluosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate and sodium fluoride.
"Each has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of transport and ease of use [but] most councils, to my understanding, use sodium fluorosilicate," he said.
Dr Wong says, regardless of which compound is used, they all dissolve in water 100 per cent and are all regularly tested for both accuracy of concentration and contamination. Furthermore, Dr Wong is quick to point out that fluoride compounds are heavily diluted, making them "perfectly safe".
"In Queensland, the level of fluoride they aim for is 0.9 of a per cent of fluoride per one million parts of water," he said.
"This has been shown to be a level that's extremely safe yet effective at reducing dental decay."
Meanwhile, Mr Finlay and Ms Lee maintain it is important for Whitsunday residents to be informed and say there is still time to stop fluoridation from going ahead.
"There is a way and that is to sign this petition," Mr Finlay said.
"500 signatures creates a people's mandate that the State Government must respond to with their reasons for whether they accept or reject the petition to stop fluoridation in the area."
The petition can be found at www.change.org/petitions/whitsunday-regional-council-stop-the-fluoridation-of-whitsunday-region-in-2013. More information is available on the Facebook page titled 'Whitsunday Takedown Fluoride WTF'. Mr Finlay plans to hold screenings of the film 'Firewater' in Proserpine, Airlie Beach and Bowen, once appropriate venues have been found.
The dentist's view
Arguments for water fluoridation, put forward by immediate past president of the Australian Dental Association (ADA) Queensland branch, Dr Andrew Wong.
Water fluoridation is safe: The overwhelming body of scientific evidence supports water fluoridation as a safe and effective means of reducing dental decay across all age groups. It is supported by the World Health Organisation, Centre for Disease Control, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Dental Association.
Regarding the [hydrofluosilicic] acid and its production: Yes there is an industrial process to make the compound but that would be no different to making chlorine, which we also add to our water supply. In regards to its toxicity, yes, if you consumed the compound in its concentrated form I am sure it would not be good for you, in the same way [as] if you drank from a vat of concentrated chlorine.
Water fluoridation works: Communities with water fluoridation have been shown to have between a 20-40 per cent reduction in dental decay.
Water fluoridation is cost effective and saves the community money: While there are some initial costs (which the State Government should cover for councils), the ongoing cost to fluoridate is low compared to the cost of treating dental decay.