It came down to the wire, but Thames will continue to have fluoridated water for now after Mayor Glenn Leach used his casting vote to retain the status quo this week.
The Thames water supply is the only water supply on the Coromandel Peninsula that is fluoridated after it was added when the town’s treatment plant was upgraded in 1971.
It costs $2,300 per year to add fluoride to the Thames water supply.
But over the past few years Thames-Coromandel District Council has received a number of submissions from members of the community requesting the Council stop adding fluoride to the Thames Water supply.
At the same time there have also been submission that fluoride continue to be added in the water supply.
So this week councillors had a vote. But after two hours of deliberations they were tied at four for fluoridation and four against.
So the Mayor used his casting vote to allow a motion aimed at retaining the status quo on water fluoridation to go through.
Despite the result, Fluoride Free Thames spokesperson Dr Jane Beck said she was ”heartened” by how close the vote was and was confident that fluoridation in Thames would end when the issue came up for review as part of the district wide Ten Year Plan in 2015.
She said a survey in January showed 52.5 per cent of submitters wanted Thames water fluoridation to stop, yet the Thames Community Board recommended continuation – with a further recommendation that Council provide support for those wishing to opt out.
And of the 867 submissions about fluoride made to the TCDC Draft Annual Plan about in April, 861 demanded discontinuation, she said.
Dr Beck said she’d be watching with interest a four day fluoride tribunal starting in Hamilton at the end of the month in which 1,500 submissions have been made.
There are strong arguments on both sides of the fluoride argument. Advocates include the World Health Organisation, the NZ Dental Association and the Ministry of Health, who all say it is a safe and effective way to help prevent and reduce tooth decay.
However those against – like the Fluoride Action Network – says new science proved there was no benefit from swallowing fluoride and that it created more health problems than it was alleged to fix.
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