Fluoridation of drinking water
What is fluoridation?
Community water fluoridation is a public health measure that aims to reduce dental decay. It is the controlled adjustment of fluoride compound to a public water supply in order to bring the fluoride concentration up to a level that reduces tooth decay. In Tasmania, fluoride levels are adjusted to between 0.8 and 1.1 mg/L (milligram per litre) of fluoride.
About 90 per cent of Tasmanians receive mains water supply from TasWater. Of this serviced population, about 98 per cent of those people receive a fluoridated supply. The first fluoridated water supply in Australia was in Beaconsfield, Tasmania in 1953.
Research on fluoridation
In 2017, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) finished a thorough review of the latest scientific research relevant to Australia on the potential link between water fluoridation and human health. The NHMRC confirmed that
- community water fluoridation helps reduce tooth decay, and
- there is no reliable evidence that water fluoridation at current Australian levels causes health problems.
Community water fluoridation has been endorsed as a safe and effective public health measure by more than 150 scientists and health organisations, including the:
- National Health and Medical Research Council
- International Dental Federation
- International Association for Dental Research
- World Health Organization
Fluoridation in Tasmania
Community water fluoridation is supported by the Department of Health (Tasmania). The Department has issued a Tasmanian Code of Practice for the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies. This is based on the legislative requirements under the Fluoridation Act 1968 and the Fluoridation Regulations 2019
The Code of Practice sets the requirements for TasWater to comply with the legislative framework, including the
- optimal range
- monitoring and
- management activities.
The legislative framework establishes a Fluoridation Committee that advises the Minister for Health on matters relating to fluoride and public health. The Committee comprises members from within the Department and external.
Fluoridation Committee Annual Reports
Each year the Fluoridation Committee published a Report for the Minister of Health detailing monitoring and management activities for fluoridated water supplies. The Director of Public Health publishes this information annually.
- Fluoridation Committee Annual Report 2020-21
- Fluoridation Committee Annual Report 2019-20 (included in the Annual drinking water quality report 2019-20)
- Fluoridation Committee Annual Report 2018-19
If you require older versions of these reports please email [email protected]