Kapiti Coast District Council has voted to consult the community on continuing to add fluoride to water in Raumati, Paraparaumu and Waikanae.
It will hold an expanded hearing process as part of its 2014-15 annual plan debates, to give all parties adequate time and opportunity to present their information.
The council agreed unanimously yesterday to use a consultative approach rather than a referendum, which could have cost about $66,000.
Retired dentist Robert Taylor addressed the council yesterday, saying he had practised for about 50 years and believed fluoridation at recommended health authority levels was safe and effective in reducing dental decay.
Improved dental health and nutrition could also help to boost children’s IQ levels, he said. “Those who benefit most from this public health measure have no knowledge of, or access to, other ways of preventing dental disease.
“Those with little knowledge about dental hygiene, no idea of toothpaste and toothbrushes, and have poor nutrition, do not realise fluoride helps children eat a healthy breakfast – and with a healthy breakfast they have a higher IQ,” Mr Taylor said.
He rejected any suggestions that fluoride was toxic.
“The dose recommended in New Zealand is safe, beneficial and has no bad effects,” he said.
Councillor K Gurunathan asked why Paekakariki and Otaki, where fluoride is not added to the water supply, should not be included in the decision on fluoride use.
“What is their democratic right to poison themselves?”
Mayor Ross Church expressed frustration that there was no guidance from the Government on the health issues involved. “This leaves local authorities to deal with it in a fragmented and ad hoc way, with different outcomes for different communities.”
The council decided in 2010 to reduce its use of fluoride to the lowest level recommended by the World Health Organisation, of 0.7 milligrams per litre.
Consultation will start in March, and will include information from the Ministry of Health and anti-fluoride lobbyists the Fluoride Action Network.
The network group welcomed the chance to provide information, saying: “The science has changed.”