It’s been about six years since anti-fluoride campaigner Rachel Keedwell took steps to remove the chemical she regards as a poison from her drinking water. As well as having an 1100 litre rain-water tank installed she is also promoting the visit of a leading expert on fluoridation to Palmerston North. Professor Paul Connett the coauthor of The Case Against Fluoride and executive director of Fluoride Action Network International (FAN) is speaking in the city next Tuesday evening on behalf of the Fluoride Free NZ Campaign.

For 23 years Dr Connett specialized in environmental chemistry at St. Lawrence University in New York. His talk at the Ferguson St Community Leisure Centre will offer evidence that fluoridation is not only ineffective in reducing tooth decay but is unsafe for human consumption and for the environment.

“The city council has fluoridated the city’s water supply since the 1960s, yet there has never been any consultation, discussion or review of this practice,” Rachel maintains.

“In light of increasing evidence that water fluoridation is not the best or safest way to tackle tooth decay, many other councils have ceased fluoridating their water supplies.

“The council currently spends $70,000 a year on fluoridation, and I think a cost benefit analysis and open discussion about this practice is well overdue.”

Taumaranui Waipukurau and New Plymouth have all stopped fluoridation. This year the Hamilton and Thames councils are consulting their residents while Hastings and Whakatane Councils are holding referenda in conjunction with the local body elections.

With only 23 councils out of 67 adding fluoride to water supplies, FANNZ are hoping the remaining councils will respond to calls from their residents to end the practice. Eight communities in Queensland have just announced their intention to stop, while American city Wichita, Kansas recently voted against it. There is no water fluoridation in continental Europe.

“The fluoride added to water supplies – sodium fluoride – is not a mineral. It is not the same as the naturally produced calcium fluoride in our bodies. It is an industrial waste product produced by the aluminum/fertilizer industry,” Rachel says. “It is not safe, especially for children. I don’t want my son drinking it.”

According to Dr Connett, “When a community fluoridates it is doing to everyone what an individual doctor can do to no one – that is force an individual to take a medicine against their will. Very few states or countries in the world have taken on this arrogant power of forcing all its citizens to take a medicine without their informed consent.

Studies have linked fluoride to cancer, hip fractures in the elderly, brain and kidney damage, calcification of the pineal gland in the brain, early onset of menstruation, sexual maturity and abnormal behavioural traits.

Rachel is hopeful the city council’s water and waste services manager Rob Green will attend the meeting.