Fluoride Free New Zealand are bringing a high profile advocate of anti fluoridation from the United States to Nelson in the hope it will encourage a conversation with the local district health board.
New York-based St Lawrence University chemistry professor Paul Connett is the director of the Fluoride Action Network, an anti fluoride organisation. He has been brought to New Zealand by Fluoride Free New Zealand and is travelling the country speaking in areas where the water is not fluoridated.
Sara Cooper of Fluoride Free Nelson said she hoped the event would bring together members of the district health board, city councillors as well as concerned individuals.
“We want to encourage conversation and get these people in the same room to talk,” she said.
The group have expressed concerns that a government proposal to shift the responsibility for water fluoridation from local government to district health boards will result in compulsory fluoridation.
Connett is the [former] director of the Fluoride Action Network and the executive director of its parent body, the American Environmental Health Studies Project. He has travelled to New Zealand several times to speak against water fluoridation.
Cooper said that fluoridating the population’s water supply was not the way to improve dental decay.
Cooper said the event would be an opportunity to hear about why 98 per cent of European countries do not fluoridate their water. Connett would also speak about alternatives to water fluoridation.
Last August, the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board adopted a formal statement endorsing community water fluoridation, before the legislation was introduced to shift the responsibility onto district health boards.
The statement endorsed community water fluoridation as an important public health measure to maintain good oral health, prevent tooth decay and reduce health inequalities.
Cooper said members of the health board, Nelson City Council and other organisations had been invited to the event to discuss the issue.
Connett’s talk is at the Masonic Hall on Nile St at 3pm on Sunday. Tickets are $5 each.