Magnet Letters to the Editor, September 21, 2016

CAR BAYS: Bega Valley Shire Council's new public carpark off Chandos Street is finally open. Council bought the block for $220,000 in 2014 and demolished the house on it.

CAR BAYS: Bega Valley Shire Council's new public carpark off Chandos Street is finally open. Council bought the block for $220,000 in 2014 and demolished the house on it.

Double standards 

The Bega Valley Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association believes that public warnings issued by Bega Valley Shire Council last week against the illegal clearing of land are unlikely to be taken seriously, given council’s less than credible handling of such incidents in the past.

The BVSRRA has repeatedly attempted to have council release details of a Code of Conduct complaint relating to the alleged involvement of an elected councillor in the clearing of Crown Land at the end of the Government Road subdivision, towards the mouth of Lake Curalo, in early 2015.

That complaint allegedly involved the unauthorised use of council equipment.

Council has resisted all effort to have details of this matter made public.

The BVSRRA believes that council’s behaviour in this matter will be seen by many as the application of a hypocritical double standard, further undermining its credibility within the community and providing yet another stark example of the need for major reform in the application and management of the local government Code of Conduct complaints system.

John Richardson, Bega Valley Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association

Researching fluoride

I am writing this in response to the letter published on September 13 from Dorte Planert of Tathra. 

The claims of fluoridated water increasing the risk of osteosarcoma “five-fold” compared to non-fluoridated areas was misquoted as belonging to Bassin, Wypij, Davis, and Mittleman (2006) who make no such claim in the paper. 

A  study by Hoover, Devesa, Cantor and Fraumeni. J. F. (1991) found an unexplained difference in osteosarcoma rates in males under 20-years from fluoridated versus non-fluoridated areas, however after time-trend analysis was conducted, there was no significant difference between those who had been exposed for a portion of their lives compared to those who had been exposed their whole lives. 

The Bassin et al. (2006) study quoted, describe correlational relationships between fluoride and osteosarcoma in a subset of males, but the authors themselves make no claim of a causal link. 

The study suffered from multiple confounding factors.

These included inaccurate estimations of fluoride consumed, lack of biological markers to demonstrate increase fluoride in the bones and the inability to account for other carcinogens that the participants may have been exposed to. 

No systematic review of the available literature has supported the notion of fluoride in drinking water increasing the risk of osteosarcoma (International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1982; Mcdonagh and et al., 2000; Medical Research Council Working Group, 2002; San Francisco Department of Public Health, 2005). 

Moreover, the literature has repeatedly demonstrated no consistent links between fluoridated drinking water and incidence of cancer in general (Fawell and al., 2006).

More importantly, the spreading of misinformation regarding fluoride in the drinking water is in blatant disregard for the evidence, and supports the perpetuation of ignorant, fear-driven opposition to one of the most important public health initiatives in this country. 

In Australia, dental health has improved since fluoridations introduction in the 1950s and those born after 1970 have 50 per cent less tooth decay than their parents (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare). 

It is easy to sympathise with the fears of the uninformed, it is not so easy to sympathise with the misrepresentation of information.

Australia’s water has a fluoridation range of between 0.6 to 1.1 mg/L (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2007), far below the level to cause any significant damage to teeth or bones. 

J Mullen, Bermagui

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