CHALLENGE MOUNTING: Lismore activist Al Oshlack is working with the Fluoride Free Northern Rivers group in a final effort to ban the controversial substance from Lismore's water supply.
CHALLENGE MOUNTING: Lismore activist Al Oshlack is working with the Fluoride Free Northern Rivers group in a final effort to ban the controversial substance from Lismore's water supply. Claudia Jambor

Fluoride fight: Northern Rivers group pushes for ban

AN ANTI-FLUORIDE group is planning a Federal Court challenge to have water fluoridation banned in Australia.

Fluoride Free Northern Rivers has worked with local solicitors to form a legal brief which they hope will move them a step closer to mounting a Federal Court challenge against the Therapeutics Goods Administration.

Legal consultant for the activist group, Al Oshlack, said they were waiting for the opinion of barristers assessing the brief to determine whether their challenge can proceed.

Mr Oshlack said Lismore City Council could not ban fluoridation locally because it handed over the authority to the State Government to manage in 2013.

He said the Federal Court challenge signified the organisation's last hope of banning fluoride in Lismore's water supply.

"The only way we are going to stop fluoride in Lismore water is to stop it in the whole of Australia," Mr Oshlack said.

The legal brief focuses on concerns about fluoride compounds being used for water fluoridation that are not registered therapeutic products or are exempt from registration under the Therapeutics Goods Act.

A TGA spokeswoman said: "Fluoride compounds may be capable of various applications, some of which are therapeutic goods and some are not. Fluoride is not used to purify or treat drinking water."

She said "the TGA does not consider fluoride compounds when used for the fluoridation of drinking water to be a 'therapeutic good' and therefore does not regulate these products".

The TGA does not regulate fluoridated drinking water as the issue is managed by individual states and territories.

Mr Oshlack said: "A TGA 2011 Order allowing 'substances for use in the ... treatment of drinking water, providing no claims are made for therapeutic use' makes it unlawful the claims by water authorities including Rous Water and the local pro fluoride lobby of the purported therapeutic value of water fluoridation."

The TGA spokeswoman said exemption mentioned in the Therapeutic Goods (Excluded Goods) Order No.1 of 2011 refers to "substances for use in the purification or treatment of drinking water", and not specifically to 'fluoridated drinking water'.

Mr Oshlack expects the matter to commence next February or March.



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