Healthy living

Fluoride facts for Western Australia

Is drinking water in Western Australia fluoridated?

Yes. Water fluoridation was introduced in Western Australia in 1968. Currently, around 92 per cent of the Western Australia population is provided with fluoridated drinking water, principally in the Perth metropolitan area and most larger regional centres.

How much fluoride is added to drinking water?
  • The optimum level of fluoride in fluoridated drinking water supplies across Western Australia is set to achieve the best dental health outcome for the community within the water supply district.
  • The optimum level is recommended by the statutory Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee, based on guidelines published by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia’s peak public health policy organisation.
  • The optimum level ranges from 0.7 to 0.9 milligrams per litre, with a maximum of 1.0 milligram per litre established in the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1966 (external site). The optimum level for the Perth metropolitan area is 0.9 milligram per litre, with a range of 0.7 to 1.0 milligrams per litre.
  • One milligram per litre is equivalent to one part per million.
  • The level of fluoride added to public drinking water supplies in Western Australia is similar to other areas in Australia with a similar climate.
  • Drinking water delivered to consumers contains the fluoride ion, but it does not contain any sodium fluoride, sodium fluorosilicate or fluorosilicic acid itself.
How can I find out if my drinking water is fluoridated?

The communities in Western Australia with fluoridated drinking water are listed below. If your location isn’t listed please contact the Water Corporation (external site) for more information.

In Western Australia, fluoridated drinking water is supplied to the Perth metropolitan area (including Yanchep, Bullsbrook, Ellenbrook, Dawesville, Mandurah and Pinjarra) and most larger regional centres, including:

North West region

  • Broome
  • Dampier
  • Derby (including Mowanjum)
  • Hedland (including South Hedland and Wedgefield)
  • Karratha
  • Kununurra
  • Newman
  • Point Sampson
  • Roebourne
  • Wickham

Naturally occurring fluoride is present at around 0.6 milligrams per litre in water supplied in Halls Creek, Marble Bar, Onslow, Paraburdoo and Tom Price.

Midwest region

  • Dongara/Port Denison
  • Exmouth
  • Geraldton
  • Greenough
  • Moora
  • Mullewa
  • Northampton
Naturally occurring fluoride is present at around 0.5 milligrams per litre in water supplied in Meekatharra and Carnarvon.

Wheatbelt and Great Southern Regions

  • Albany (including Little Grove, Goode Beach and Lower King)
  • Beverley
  • Boddington
  • Brookton
  • Bruce Rock
  • Coolgardie
  • Corrigin
  • Cunderdin
  • Esperance
  • Gnowangerup
  • Hyden
  • Kalgoorlie
  • Kambalda
  • Katanning
  • Kellerberrin
  • Kendenup
  • Kojonup
  • Merredin
  • Mount Barker
  • Mundaring (including surrounding suburbs)
  • Narrikup
  • Narrogin
  • Norseman
  • Northam
  • Pingelly
  • Quairading
  • Southern Cross
  • Toodyay
  • Wagin
  • Williams
  • Wongan Hills
  • Wundowie
  • York

A number of smaller Wheatbelt and Great Southern region communities are supplied from the same source or treatment plant as the regional centres.

Naturally occurring fluoride is present at around 0.6 milligrams per litre in the water supplied in Bremer Bay, Leonora and Laverton.

South West Region

  • Australind
  • Binningup
  • Brunswick Junction
  • Burekup
  • Collie (including Allanson)
  • Dalyellup
  • Eaton
  • Hamel
  • Harvey
  • Manjimup
  • Myalup
  • Roelands
  • Wagerup
  • Waroona
  • Wokalup
  • Yarloop

The Dunsborough water supply is de-fluoridated to the optimal level, as fluoride is naturally occurring in the source water at a higher level.

This scheme supplies the towns of Dunsborough, Quindalup and Yallingup. Groundwater is sourced for Dunsborough’s water supply from more than one aquifer. The Water Corporation removes fluoride from groundwater extracted from the Sue aquifer as fluoride levels in that aquifer exceed the health-related guideline value set under the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (external site). Fluoride is not removed from groundwater extracted from the Leederville aquifer. As the use of groundwater bores from these aquifers is not continuous, fluoride removal is not continuous.

The recommended range and optimum concentration for the Dunsborough water supply have been specified to provide a duty of care target (0.7-1.0 milligrams per litre and just under 0.9 milligrams per litre respectively).

The Water Corporation (external site) can provide more information on the water supply in your particular area.

NB – Construction of fluoridation plants for Bunbury has been delayed due to the constrained construction market and global supply chain issues of critical parts. It is anticipated that the plants will be operational by June 2024.

Are fluoride levels in drinking water supplies in Western Australia monitored?

Yes. Drinking water supplies in Western Australia are monitored on a continuous to weekly basis to ensure that fluoride levels do not exceed the legal limit.

What form of fluoride is added to drinking water in Western Australia?

In Western Australia the following compounds containing fluoride are added to drinking water supplies:

  • fluorosilicic acid (a compound of fluorine, hydrogen and silicon). This is the most common method of adding fluoride to drinking water supplies in Western Australia. A very small amount of fluorosilicic acid is added at the treatment plant as a liquid, where it dissolves to release fluoride ion.
  • sodium fluoride (a compound of fluorine and sodium). Sodium fluoride is delivered as a powder which is added to the drinking water supply in small quantities at the treatment plant, where it dissolves to release fluoride ion. Sodium fluoride is used for water treatment plants supplying Derby, Dongara/Port Denison, Esperance, Exmouth, Kununurra, Manjimup, Moora and Yanchep.

In all cases the compounds containing fluoride that are added dissociate (break down) into their components well before the water leaves the treatment plant.

Where does the fluoride that is added to drinking water come from?
  • Fluorosilicic acid is sourced as a by-product from superphosphate production. Phosphate rock and sulphuric acid are the main raw materials used to make fluorosilicic acid. This is the most common way of making fluoride found around the world. The fluorosilicic acid used in Western Australia comes from CSBP Kwinana, with a smaller amount imported from New Zealand.
  • Sodium fluoride is produced by neutralising hydrofluoric acid with soda ash or reacting sodium fluorosilicate (a compound of fluorine, hydrogen and silicon) with caustic soda or soda ash. The sodium fluoride used in Western Australia comes from Ixom.
How pure are the products used to fluoridate drinking water?
  • All chemicals added to drinking water, including fluorosilicic acid and sodium fluoride must meet the quality standards specified in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (external site), published by the National Health and Medical Research Council, as well as be approved by the Department of Health for addition to drinking water.
  • The licensed water provider is also required to apply its own strict quality control processes and monitoring programs to ensure that any product added to drinking water meets the highest levels of purity.

More information

Contact Environmental Health Services at your local government (external site).
Last reviewed: 27-09-2023

Public Health

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