Government Promises to Come Clean on Fluoride Water Surge in Australian City

by Gopalan on  May 15, 2009 at 3:07 PM Environmental Health
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 Government Promises to Come Clean on Fluoride Water Surge in Australian City
The government of Queensland in Australia has promised to come clean on the excessive release of fluoride in drinking water supplies to some parts of Brisbane, capital of the state.

Premier Anna Bligh yesterday revealed 300,000 litres of contaminated water was pumped to northern Brisbane homes for three hours on May 1 after a plant malfunction delivered 20 times the allowable limit of fluoride into the water supply.

The fault was uncovered during routine tests, but health authorities said it did not pose a risk.

The Australian Medical Association says Brisbane residents could suffer health problems from ingesting too much fluoride.

AMAQ president Doctor Chris Davis says high levels can cause teeth pigmentation and brittleness of bones.

But as things stand, it is not a matter of concern, apparently.

"Queensland's chief health officer Doctor Janette Young has done an enormous amount of investigation of the households that were affected," he said.

"We have no reports that we're aware of [of] any symptoms that were reported anyway, which were increased salivation, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain."

The state Opposition says it should not have taken nearly two weeks for the Government to find out about the bungle. 

Premier Anna Bligh said that Queensland Health and the Environment Department were preparing information for households.

"I think it should contain accurate and factual information about what happened, what they should be aware of, if they have any concerns and how they can find more information, and some form of apology about how this happened," she said.

"This is not acceptable. This is something Queenslanders should be able to rely on and in this case they haven't been able to."

The Government says test results took 12 days to identify the problem and Ms Bligh says she learned about it on Wednesday night.

She has ordered a full investigation.

Opposition Leader John Paul Langbroek says it is not good enough.

"It's more an issue of the management of the system and it is of concern that it took two weeks for the Government to be told about it and to release to the public," he said.

Mr Langbroek says the Government cannot afford to make mistakes on the purity of drinking water.

"The Government should be reassuring Queenslanders that they have got all the procedures in place, that fail-safe mechanisms are working properly and that this sort of thing is not repeated," he said.

Source: Medindia

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