NHMRC Public Consultations

Skip Navigation and go to Content
Visit NHMRC website

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

Closed on Thursday, 3 August 2017, 11:59pm (AEDT). Submissions are no longer being accepted.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released the draft Public Statement 2017: Water fluoridation and human health in Australia (draft Public Statement) for public consultation.

In this statement NHMRC strongly recommends community water fluoridation as a safe, effective and ethical way to help reduce tooth decay across the population. NHMRC supports Australian states and territories fluoridating their drinking water supplies within the range of 0.6 to 1.1 milligrams per litre (mg/L).

The Australian community is invited to provide comments on the draft Public Statement. It is intended for use by policy makers, water providers and members of the public.

The aims of public consultation on the draft Public Statement are to obtain feedback on:

  • whether the information is presented in a format and manner that is useful and easy to understand
  • whether the boxed ‘NHMRC statement’ (page one) is clearly justified
  • options for disseminating the Public Statement once finalised.

How to make a submission

NHMRC’s preferred option for accepting submissions is ONLINE. We trust this method will be quick and simple for you. It also allows NHMRC to review and respond to your submissions more efficiently. Guidelines on how to make a submission are available here.

The closing date for submissions is 3 August 2017 at 11.59pm (AEST). Extensions will not be provided.

Background

Community water fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride in drinking water to reach a level that can help to reduce tooth decay.

To help protect teeth against tooth decay, only very small amounts of fluoride are needed in drinking water, taking into consideration fluoride in other sources such as foods, drinks and dental products. In some places in Australia there are already sufficient levels of fluoride naturally occurring in groundwater to help reduce tooth decay.

In each Australian state or territory, the government health authority determines the appropriate operational level within the range of 0.6 to 1.1 mg/L, taking into consideration local factors such as tap water consumption.

The draft Public Statement is based on the summary of NHMRC’s consideration of the evidence on the dental and other human health effects of water fluoridation in Australia. The summary is contained within the Information Paper – Water fluoridation: dental and other human health outcomes (Information Paper).

The Information Paper is underpinned by a comprehensive evaluation of the evidence which is available in the Health effects of water fluoridation: Evidence Evaluation Report (2016) and associated Health effects of water fluoridation: Technical Report (2016). The Australian community also had two opportunities to submit evidence on the dental and other human health effects of water fluoridation, both before and after NHMRC’s review of the evidence.

The NHMRC Fluoride Reference Group and the Australian state and territory governments have guided this work. The Information Paper, above reports and information on the Fluoride Reference Group are available on the NHMRC website here.

Scope of this public consultation

NHMRC is seeking responses to specific questions that relate to the aims of the public consultation identified above.

Out of scope for this public consultation

  1. Comment on the Information Paper is not within scope of public consultation. There was an opportunity for public consultation in September to October 2016.
  2. The following types of data are out of scope and will not be considered:
    • evidence not available in English or in full-text
    • non-scientific evidence (this includes personal opinions, medical records, raw data,  and editorials)
    • animal studies and narrative reviews
    • evidence already provided in the public call for evidence in 2014 and/or public consultation on the draft Information Paper in 2016. This evidence has already been considered by NHMRC (but not necessarily included) in the Information Paper and underlying Health effects of water fluoridation: Evidence Evaluation Report (2016) and associated Health effects of water fluoridation: Technical Report (2016). These reports are accessible from the NHMRC website here.

How NHMRC will consider submissions

NHMRC will consider all submissions that are in scope, i.e. they address the public consultation questions and additional evidence meets the criteria outlined above.

After the final Public Statement is released, submissions will be made available via this online public consultation portal, unless they have been requested to be kept confidential.

Consultation documents

Comment on this Information Paper is not within scope of public consultation. It is provided for information only.

Please note: If you are having problems downloading a document, please right-click on the link and select "Save Target/Link as..." and choose a location to save the file to.

Consultation date

Please note the Timezone is AEDT.

Opening date: 
Tuesday, 4 July 2017 - 10:30am
Closing date: 
Thursday, 3 August 2017 - 11:59pm
Extension: 
Please note that for some NHMRC consultations no extensions will be given. Where extensions are available you will need to contact the project officer using the contact details at the bottom of this page. However, in order for NHMRC to extend the date of a submission you will need to have created an account and started a submission.
Contact for further information
Public submissions

Page reviewed: 5 July, 2017