A lobby group trying to convince Hastings to take fluoride out of its water supply will also ask the same of Central Hawke’s Bay when it fronts a public hearing on the issue next month.
Central Hawke’s Bay District Council is asking its constituents whether it should continue adding fluoride to the Waipukurau water supply, opening the debate up to public submissions.
Hastings Fluoride Action Group spokeswoman Angela Hair said she would put in a submission and ask to speak to the CHB council hearing at the end of September.
“Hawke’s Bay has never done any monitoring of the long-term health effects of putting fluoride in the water. Our position is that we feel it is irresponsible for councils to continue to put fluoride in the water when we really don’t know what impact it’s had.
“Napier has never had fluoride and maintain they don’t want it. It’s hard for people [in Hastings and CHB] to avoid fluoride if they don’t have a choice because it’s already in their drinking water.” Mrs Hair said the best way to access fluoride was by tooth paste and brushing teeth.
“I know people who try to avoid fluoride by driving to Napier to get their drinking water and bringing it back to Hastings.”
Mrs Hair said she would make similar points in her presentation to the CHB council while working on a public awareness campaign leading up to the Hastings referendum on fluoridation, which will be held as part of the next council election in 2013.
Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Peter Butler said he understood the two dentists in Waipukurau had opposing views on whether fluoride should be in the town’s water. “One dentist is pro and the other has come out strongly against it. At the moment, the people who are anti-fluoride are swaying me their way, but I want to wait until I hear all of the submissions before deciding on a position.”
Mr Butler said he wasn’t on council in 2009 when it voted eight to one to continue fluoride in the Waipukurau water supply, despite 439 submissions against it from the community.
“The Health Centre was very pro last time and I think they might have changed councillors’ minds. We have a new council now and I think it’s a good time to revisit the issue.”
The Waipukurau District Council introduced fluoridation in 1979 as part of a nationwide public health initiative by the Ministry of Health.
Other parts of Central Hawke’s Bay were then operated by separate councils/boroughs which were not interested in fluoridation.
Submissions on the Waipukurau water fluoridation close on August 31.