It’s open slather on administering drugs via our water supplies, and now many other ways. How about the air we breathe? Judge Hanson’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent.
The ruling on the legality of fluoridation comes down to the fact that Judge Hanson believes an action only constitutes a medical treatment if it is confined to “direct interference with the body or state of mind of an individual and does not extend to public health interventions”. Using this logic, it is now perfectly legal for councils to add whatever they like to the water supply so long as they say it’s a “public health intervention”. The Government could even spray things into the air.
So what will be next? Will councils start adding an anti-obesity drug or a cholesterol lowering drug as a public health measure to reduce diabetes or health attacks? Or perhaps even the Ministry of Health will grant themselves permission to start spraying vaccines into the air down the streets of Wellington because the delivery mechanism does not involve direct interference? They may justify it every time there is an outbreak of measles or whooping cough. This is no more preposterous than adding highly toxic chemicals to the public drinking water to treat dental decay.
Judge Hanson ruled that fluoridation does not come under the Medicines Act as a “food” does not include a drink. So when is a liquid medicine a drink and when is it a medicine? Does this mean anyone who wants, can claim a therapeutic purpose and provide medical treatment to others, if they add their medicine to water?
It was also very surprising that Judge Hanson saw no material distinction between fluoridation and chlorination of water or the addition of iodine to salt. This is one of the most basic mistakes people make when considering fluoridation. Chlorine is added to many water supplies to make the water drinkable. Councils are required to provide drinkable water. Adding fluoridation chemicals to the water is vastly different in that it is added to treat the people and there is no requirement for councils to do this. In fact, only 22 councils out of 67 currently do so.
It is also vastly different than adding iodine to salt in that iodine is an essential nutrient, fluoride is not, and people can chose whether or not to buy iodised salt. It would only be similar if they added it to the water supply. Fluoridation is even more bizarre though, because it is generally accepted, as stated by Judge Hanson, that it works topically i.e. on the outside of the tooth, not systemically as was believed for many years.
This ruling goes against common sense and the growing opposition to fluoridation. To quote Arvid Carlsson, Nobel Prize winner in Medicine in 2000, “this is against all principles of modern pharmacology. It’s really obsolete…those nations that are using it should feel ashamed of themselves. It’s against science.”