According to the CRIMES ACT 1958 – SECT 458, a “person found committing offences may be arrested without warrant by any person” in Victoria. The answer to the question, Can Water Supply Authority Staff be Arrested for Fluoridating Public Drinking Water?, is honestly, we don’t know. However, it is a question worth taking seriously and over the years since 2008, AFAM has been asked this question numerous times. Therefore, we offer the following overview for the general consideration of the Victorian public:
Water fluoridation is a treatment for the disease of dental caries. Treating individuals without their informed consent can result in serious charges such as Medical Trespass, Assault or Battery, for medical practitioners who treat patients without consent. However, water departments treat thousands, even millions, of people every day and night with fluoridation chemicals, without consent being originally obtained (or obtained on an ongoing basis).
Thus, it is logical to consider whether members of the public, for whom the right to consent is being regularly violated, have grounds to arrest those violating their rights (in this case, suppliers of public drinking water). In the words of the CRIMES ACT, a person may be arrested in order “to prevent the continuation or repetition of the offence or the commission of a further offence,” and/or “for the safety or welfare of members of the public” – as long as such arrests are made with beliefs based “on reasonable grounds”.
It seems that the decision to arrest members of water supply authorities would be determined with consideration of:
a) Health risks to individual members of the public, or vulnerable population sub-groups;
b) Ongoing offences of medical trespass, assault or battery against members of the public.
Let’s examine these two categories:
a) Health risks
Proponents of fluoridation do acknowledge the increased risk of dental fluorosis as a side-effect of fluoridation, but they generally deny the potential for health risks beyond this. Nevertheless, research since 1990 has begun to more seriously consider fluoridation’s “undesirable effects… due to the awareness that this element interacts with cellular systems even at low doses” (Barbier et al. 2010). As proposed by Thiessen (2011), even the supposedly “low” concentration of fluoride in drinking water of 0.7 mg/L is “not adequate to protect against known or anticipated adverse effects and does not allow an adequate margin of safety to protect young children, people with high water consumption, people with kidney disease (resulting in reduced excretion of fluoride), and other potentially sensitive population subgroups”. We discussed this matter in more detail in a recent post.
b) Informed consent to treatment
Whilst many health concerns may at this point be inadequately studied in fluoridating nations (to determine the full extent of risk), one thing abundantly more clear is the fundamental principle of informed consent to treatment. We invite readers to scroll through our numerous previous posts on this issue to grasp a full understanding of the principle, and fluoridation’s obvious violation of it.
It could, in principle, be reasonably established that mandatory water fluoridation in the state of Victoria represents a violation of the fundamental principles of informed consent to treatment. In reality, individual doctors could not force a treatment upon any individual in the community without facing serious consequences if they did so, yet water supply authorities do so every day by adding fluoridation chemicals to water supplies as a form of mass treatment (where consent has not and could not be obtained from all members of the public). It could also be reasonably established that the scientific jury is still out on the safety of fluoridation, therefore, it is plausible that the actions of water supply authorities may be harming members of the public. Could these, in light of the CRIMES ACT, be sufficient grounds to perform arrests on members of water supply authorities? It is within the rights of anyone in Victoria to make that call, as an individual. We, of course, recommend seeking professional legal advice before performing such actions.