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Draft NHMRC Public Statement 2017: Water fluoridation and human health in Australia submission

ID: 
32
This submission reflects the views of
Organisation Name: 
NSW Health - Population and Public Health Division
Personal Details
Question 1
Q1. A. The draft Public Statement is presented in a format and manner that is useful, and is easy to read and understand: 
Neutral
Overarching/General comments on the Public Statement: 

Agree

NSW Health congratulates the NHMRC on the completion of the evidence evaluation and draft public statement. Once finalised, this document will provide NSW Health and the community with clear guidance and recommendations on the effectiveness and safety of water fluoridation. NSW Health would welcome the opportunity to discuss these comments with officers of NHMRC.

Comments on a particular section of the Public Statement: 
Dental fluorosis

 

NSW Health requests that the section on dental fluorosis is revised to better inform the public and decision makers as to the relative risk of dental fluorosis from water fluoridation. The section should include a very clear conclusion about how the public should consider dental fluorosis, and a statement offering guidance to decision makers. There is a risk that the information about dental fluorosis could be misinterpreted if no clear conclusion is given.

 

 

 

The Information Paper states that ‘Australian studies indicate that at current water fluoridation levels, dental fluorosis has declined’ and ‘International studies show that fluoride in drinking water is linked to the amount and severity of dental fluorosis’. Are the international studies based on naturally fluoridated sources, fluoridated drinking water or both? Natural sources may contain much higher concentrations of fluoride than fluoridated drinking water.

 

 

The Draft Public Statement states that ‘community water fluoridation is linked to the amount and severity of dental fluorosis’. This conclusion is not necessarily consistent with the Information Paper, is not necessarily relevant to the Australian context of the Public Statement, and could lead to a misunderstanding the risk of fluorosis associated with water fluoridation in Australia.

Question 2
Q2. A. The boxed ‘NHMRC statement’ (page one) in the draft Public Statement is justified and supported by the evidence in the Information Paper: Effects of Water Fluoridation on Dental and Other Human Health Outcomes : 
Agree
Question 3
Q3. A. For policy makers, the draft Public Statement provides sufficient information to support decision making in your jurisdiction or local area: 
Neutral
Comments on a particular section of the Public Statement: 
Dental fluorosis

NSW Health requests that the section on dental fluorosis is revised to better inform the public and decision makers as to the relative risk of dental fluorosis from water fluoridation. The section should include a very clear conclusion about how the public should consider dental fluorosis, and a statement offering guidance to decision makers. There is a risk that the information about dental fluorosis could be misinterpreted if no clear conclusion is given.

 

The Information Paper states that ‘Australian studies indicate that at current water fluoridation levels, dental fluorosis has declined’ and ‘International studies show that fluoride in drinking water is linked to the amount and severity of dental fluorosis’. Are the international studies based on naturally fluoridated sources, fluoridated drinking water or both? Natural sources may contain much higher concentrations of fluoride than fluoridated drinking water.

 

The Draft Public Statement states that ‘community water fluoridation is linked to the amount and severity of dental fluorosis’. This conclusion is not necessarily consistent with the Information Paper, is not necessarily relevant to the Australian context of the Public Statement, and could lead to a misunderstanding the risk of fluorosis associated with water fluoridation in Australia.

Question 4
Q4. How could the Public Statement be effectively disseminated?: 

Page reviewed: 9 November, 2017