One of Rotorua’s staunch anti-fluoride activists has had his concerns heard about adding the chemical to the district’s water supply.
Rotorua district councillor and anti-fluoride activist Charles Sturt had his submission heard by the health select committee in Wellington yesterday. The committee was set up as the next step in passing a bill to allow district health boards, rather than local councils, make decisions and give directions about the fluoridation of drinking water supplies in their areas.
Speaking to the Rotorua Daily Post Mr Sturt said it was his strong views against fluoride that resulted in his resignation from the Lakes District Health Board (DHB) last June.
“There is fluoride in the water in Taupo but has the number of cavities gone down? Are dentists leaving town because there’s no work? No. The problem is sugar and fluoride isn’t the answer.
“Twice in 20 years there has been referendums about fluoride and twice the people of Rotorua have said they do not want it in their water supply. I am presenting to the standing committee what the community wants. The concerns people have should be taken into account.”
Lakes DHB chief executive Ron Dunham has previously said the board supported the proposed change.
He said the health board would work closely with the authorities to improve the oral health of Rotorua’s population.
Rotorua dentist and former Lakes DHB chairman Stewart Edward said fluoridation was ultimately a health issue.
“The more we can do to help people with their oral health, the better. But, fluoridation is only part of the action. People cannot expect to have healthy mouths if they are not going to the dentist regularly and brushing their teeth twice daily.”
Mr Edward said the fluoridation debate brought the attention onto oral health which was “only a positive thing”.
The second reading of the bill will follow the select committee hearings.