The group which campaigned against the fluoridation of Ashburton’s water supply is delighted with the town’s majority vote against fluoridation.
Fluoride was withdrawn in 2002 following a public campaign, but health officials were seeking to reinstate it, citing rising tooth decay rates.
But in a binding referendum on the issue, 55 percent of over 7,000 voters were against the move.
The head of the anti-fluoride campaign in Ashburton, Don Church, says it was worth it just to get the truth about fluoridation out to the public.
He says despite fluoridation helping with tooth decay for five year olds, it is bad for people’s health in the long run.
Mr Church says if health officials try to fluoridate water in Christchurch, he will join in the fight against it.
And the Fluoride Action Network is also pleased Ashburton residents voted against fluoridation of the water supply and says fluoridation should be totally banned.
The Network’s national co-ordinator, Mark Atkin, says fluoridation is completely unnecessary.
Mr Atkin is hoping the fluoridation of the Kaikohe and Kaitaia water supplies can also be stopped.
However, the referendum result against re-instating fluoridation of Ashburton’s water supply has disappointed the Canterbury District Health Board.
The DHB’s medical officer of health, Daniel Williams, says the result shows it is easy for a few opponents to raise doubts in people’s minds.
He says the public should remember that health and dental authorities around the world agree that fluoridation is safe, effective and saves money.
Dr Williams says children in Wellington, where the water is fluoridated, have 30 to 40 percent less tooth decay than children in Canterbury.
He says fluoride can be absorbed from other sources, like full-strength fluoride toothpaste and tablets.