A regional Queensland town has become the latest in the state to vote to shut down fluoride in its water supply.
Mackay Council voted 6-5 to ban fluoride in the town's water supply following weeks of public debate, joining a number of other local governments who've voted to stop water fluoridation in recent years.
The controlled addition of fluoride -- a naturally-occurring mineral that's found in rocks and soil -- to a public water supply is aimed at reducing tooth decay. It has been added to the nation's water supply since the 1960s.
Mackay councillors vote to end fluoridation in the public water supply more details to follow— Mackay Council (@mackaycouncil) September 28, 2016
Mackay council voted on the ban following a community engagement process, and it is expected to cease allowing fluoride in the water in the coming weeks.
"For local government to make a decision, the only real way that you can make this decision, is see what the public that you represent have to say," Mayor Greg Williamson told the Daily Mercury on Wednesday.
"And I think we've done as much as we can to see what the residents of our district had to say about fluoride."
Local doctors have said they are disappointed by the decision and it's potential effects on dental health.
Last month, 170 people attended a town hall-style meeting to discuss fluoride, while a recent phone survey in the town showed 46.7 percent of the community opposed fluoridation of water.
That poll also showed 39.1 per cent supported it and 14.2 per cent were undecided, the Daily Mercury reported.
Fluoride was first added to the Mackay water supply in 2009, after the Queensland Government made it mandatory for towns with population exceeding 1,000 people.
In 2012, four years after fluoride was introduced to the Queensland water supply, then Premier Campbell Newman opted to leave future fluoride decisions with local councils.
Bundaberg Regional Council opted out first, before being followed by at least 16 other local government regions.
Tinfoil hat with every rate notice https://t.co/kMzXZ3Mo94— Paul Tatnell (@PaulTatnell) September 28, 2016
can't wait for the @mackaycouncil to release it's position on chemtrails— Rashas Moustaches (@rashasman) September 28, 2016
Hey dentists, Mackay is running a get rich quick scheme https://t.co/6JVkmDd9RQ— Dr Darren Saunders (@whereisdaz) September 28, 2016
In mid-September, a 60-year review by the National Health and Medical Research Council into the effects of fluoridation in water showed no harmful effects.
It did, however, show fluoride exposure sometimes caused "very mild or mild" small white lines on the tooth surface called dental fluorosis, which often disappeared with age.