The Maniototo Community Board has decided to fluoridate Ranfurly’s public drinking water supplies.
The board members voted three to two for fluoridation at their meeting in Ranfurly yesterday.
Chairman Richard Smith said the board took the view that fluoridation would protect public health.
He said the residents had given the board a mandate at the October referendum, although it was not a “conclusive” result with just over 50 percent for fluoridation.
Maniototo residents voted for fluoridation by a majority of 62 votes at the referendum held with the local body elections last year.
A total of 818 voted, 385 for, 323 against and 110 blank.
A report to the board written by Central Otago District Council assets and contracts manager Murray Washington says flouridation of public water supplies generated significant public interest with often extreme views both for and against.
He says the council would either have to consider the result of the referendum was too close and decide against fluoridation or go ahead with fluoridation.
The Otago District Health Board senior public health dentist Dorothy Boyd recommended the board fluoridate water to improve the oral health of the community.
She said there were more five-year-olds with tooth decay in areas in Otago where there was no water fluoridation.
Olive McRae of the Fluoride Action Network New Zealand made a submission to the board not to fluoridate the water supply.
She said children did not suffer from tooth decay because of a lack of fluoride but could be exposed to dental fluorosis, a discolouration of the tooth enamel. She also said that infants should not have their formula mixed with artificially fluoridated water. She called for more research into the issue.
The Cromwell Community Board decided not to fluoridate the town’s water earlier this month even though residents had voted in favour of it in the referendum.
The Clutha District Council also approved the introduction of fluoridation to the Kaitangata and Milton water supplies this month.
Overall, 49 percent of voters in the Southland, Central Otago and South Otago districts were against water fluoridation.
In Central Otago, Alexandra, Manitoto and Cromwell voted for, while Roxburgh and Earnslceugh-Manuherikia voted against.