The issue of fluoride in the drinking water has globally raised extensive debates on the pros and cons.
Now the good folk of Methven look like being dragged back into the fray by anti-fluoride campaigners wanting to turn back the clock.
They have every right to have their say and the community’s residents and its leaders can consider their arguments on their merit.
Fluoridated water has attracted countless international research projects to determine its value.
New Zealand research confirms that decay levels are 30-40 per cent lower in areas with optimal levels of fluoride in the water.
That’s a considerable help to the dental health of our children and also potential savings for their parents and the public dental purse.
The anti-fluoride lobbyists cite evidence from yet more research which links fluoridated water to neurotoxic lesions, lower IQs, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, osteoporosis, birth defects etc.
On the evidence presented there would seem little justification for those claims.
The New Zealand Minister of Health’s recently released its own document which declared “there was no persuasive evidence of harmful effects from optimal water fluoridation”.
Methven is in good company.
About 40 per cent of Canada receives fluoridated water, 83 per cent in Switzerland, 100 per cent in Ireland, 42 of the 50 largest US cities and most Australian states.
Here in NZ nearly all water-supplies are fluoridated, except those in remote areas, after it was first introduced in Hastings in 1954.
Which now begs the question, what next for the people of Methven?
If the vocal minority gets its way for a referendum, and there is a consensus to remove fluoride in the public water supply, they should be prepared for a reverse challenge.
This will be part of the fluoride battle, but it won’t win the war.