20 Jul 2009

Australia - Government guilty after fluoride overdose

Government guilty after fluoride overdose
20 Jul 09 @ 09:59am by Joel Gould
PINE Rivers residents may be able to sue the State Government for the over fluoridation of the water supply in May, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope said.
An investigation by the International Water Centre slammed SEQwater’s performance regarding the incident, that occurred due to malfunctions at the North Pine Water Treatment plant. SEQwater was found to have breached the Water Supply Act and Water Fluoridation Act, both of 2008. Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson put SEQwater ``on notice’’ for the breach but Mr Cope pointed out that was tantamount to the government criticising the government. ``At the end of the day it (SEQwater) is a statutory authority owned by the government. It is the government,’’ Mr Cope said. Of larger concern to Mr Cope and of far greater interest to Pine Rivers residents is the government’s attempts to grant itself immunity from litigation in such a case. Section 94 of the Water Fluoridation Act states: ``A person does not have a civil right or remedy against a public potable (drinkable) water supplier in relation to the fluoridation of a public potable water supply under this act.’’ Mr Cope said the spirit of the section was to try and stop people from suing just because fluoride had been put in the water. But that was different from an overdose of fluoride that could lead to poisoning, he said. ``It may well be that a lawyer could work their way around that section,’’ Mr Cope said.

``The immunity the government have given themselves may actually be very limited. That section may well be read down in a situation like this where the evidence is that there has been a massive overdosing. ``If somebody can convince the court that what they have done is negligent then the government should be held liable.’’ Mr Cope said it was a matter of principle that the government should not be giving itself immunity from litigation in these circumstances. ``The government should be just as liable as any other citizen if it’s negligent. It is wrong for the government to put itself above the law,’’ he said.

No comments: