Fluoride Action Network

Experts visit NZ to present the evidence of fluoride’s neurotoxicity at Otago University

Fluoride Action Network | Bulletin | September 20, 2018

In an effort to forestall the bill pushing for mandatory fluoridation in New Zealand’sparliament, FAN NZ organized a visit of three experts to provide the latest evidence at Otago University that fluoride was neurotoxic and had the potential to lower the intelligence of children even at the doses commonly experienced in fluoridated communities.

Why Otago University? It’s located in Dunedin on NZ’s South Island. It hosts the only dental school in the country and for many years has been the hotbed of fluoridation promotion. But it also has a famous medical school and many relevant science departments. Surely, if we could convince some of the prestigious professors who teach at this school – as well as the students – that fluoride was neurotoxic with the potentialto reduce the mental abilities of future generations that they would sound the alarm bell and bring the MPs and the new Labor government to its senses. The government is led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who has just had a baby.

The motto of Otago University is “Sapere Aude” (“Dare to be wise”). The former vice-chancellor of the university is Sir David Skegg, now President of the Royal Society of NZ, who was half the prestigious team (other half: Sir Peter Gluckman, former chief scientific advisor to the Prime minister) of the2014 report that whitewashed fluoridation’s dangers. Despite gross errors, this report has been widely used by the media and the Ministry of Health in their support of this parliamentary bill.

The three experts who visited NZwere

• Vyvyan Howard from Northern Ireland, an infant and fetal pathologist;

• Declan Waugh, an environmental scientist from the Republic of Ireland – who has spent the last 7 years on an intensive study of fluoride’s toxicity.

• and myself, Paul Connett, a retired professor of chemistry and co-author of the book The Case Against Fluoride.

Half page ads were run in major newspapers in both Wellington and Dunedin, promoting our visit and announcing our talks (Dunedin, Sept 4 and Wellington, Sept 6).

The evening arrived. As we approached 7 pm, nearly 300 people began to fill the seats.

You can see videotapes of our three presentations:

Many of you have seen and heard me many times so I recommend that you start with Declan’s presentation, which I found absolutely riveting, and then watch Vyvyan’s commentary on fluoride and the thyroid gland and then mine.

The disappointing news – not one professor from the University came to hear our presentations nor did the local media!

However, the next day in a follow-up meeting a journalist from the Otago Daily News did show up and I am afraid I gave him an earful – which he dutifully reported.

He wrote:

At a question-and-answer session yesterday, Prof Connett said the university should be ashamed of its attitude to the fluoride debate.

”Is this tower so ivory that it doesn’t matter?” he asked.

”Taxpayers’ money has gone in to funding people’s education, their university degrees, their postgraduate degrees, their professorships and salaries, and they don’t feel any obligation whatsoever to debate the science.”

Prof Connett said the public needed to hear both sides of the debate – ”to simply ignore us is unacceptable”. (see the full article)

Dr. Vyvyan Howard wrote a letter to the Otago Times responding to this article, but the paper did not publish it. Here it is:

Dear Sir

Re: Anti-fluoride campaigner invites university debate (6/9/18)

I was surprised to find no mention of the scientific issues, presented at the meeting, mentioned in your article. As one of the “trio” of “campaigners” (as described in your article) you made no mention of my qualifications and therefore of my influence to the discussion.

I am a medically qualified pathologist, specialized in the effects of toxic substances on the fetus. The last time I spoke in public on the topic of fluoride and health was 10 years ago in Toronto. I do not consider myself to be a campaigner but I am a medical professional with a concern for public health. The reason I have given up 2 weeks of a busy life to come to NZ is that I consider the findings of the latest published papers (of which you gave no mention) merit a civil and informed discussion amongst involved scientists from both sides of the argument.

I stated yesterday, in the presence of your reporter, that if I was in medical practice here in NZ I would be advising female patients who were considering starting a family to avoid drinking fluoridated tap water. This is based on the findings in the recent paper by Bashash et al which shows very clearly that fluoride is associated with a considerable fall in IQ (over 5 IQ points) in offspring in a dose dependent manner. This very well designed study mirrors the findings in over 30 prior studies. Not to have mentioned these facts will also probably have surprised your readership.

Yours sincerely
Vyvyan Howard

Sadly, few academics and politicians heard our words in person. Most citizens remain oblivious to the threat this practice presents to future generations of Kiwis.  But we did leave behind these three videos (see links above) and an hour long radio program.

We encourage all our supporters in NZ to do what they can to get as many people as possible to watch (and listen to) them and then send the links to their MPsBut hope may also be coming from a different direction. The Maori community is becoming involved. They are fighting the atrocity of dropping pellets of highly toxic sodium fluoroacetate (known as 1080) from helicopters on forests. This cruel and foolish program is designed to kill off possums and rats, which are threatening flightless birds. But the indiscriminate distribution of this horrible poison is killing other mammals, including domestic pets, deer, wild pigs and farm animals.  Here is a link to an award-winning video on this issue, “Poisoning Paradise.”

On Saturday Sept 8, Declan, Mary and I (Vyvyan had already left for Northern Ireland) attended a very powerful Maori demonstration outside parliament house in Wellington and this was followed by a march. I have never witnessed such public emotion in NZ before. Another 43 demonstrations were held throughout the NZ on the same day. This has been the biggest ever demonstration of Maori feeling on this matter and people close to the organizers believe that the campaign will extend to other issues including fluoridation. Possible messages: Stop poisoning our land, our food, our water. Ban 1080, end fluoridation. Stop poisoning NZ.  

Paul Connett,
Director of FAN