Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride advocates ‘scared’ – won’t defend policy in open public debate

Source: The Press - Christchurch, New Zealand | June 11th, 2002
Location: New Zealand

Health authorities are prepared to parrot other people’s studies to back fluoridation but are too scared to debate the issue, visiting American lobbyist Paul Connett says.

Chemistry professor Dr Connett, who spoke to a Timaru audience last night about the perils of fluoridation after a talk in Methven at the weekend, said yesterday that health officials had been told not to take the stage with him.

“They argue like parrots but defend like chickens,” Dr Connett said, wearing his trademark chicken tie.

Among those who had been given the opportunity to debate in public were Director-General of Health Karen Poutasi and Crown Public Health medical officer of health Daniel Williams, he said.

“I just cannot understand how the New Zealand people can accept a practice that health officials cannot defend in open public debate,” he said.

Recent studies showed the benefits of fluoridation were clinically meaningless, while there was mounting evidence of harm. Among the most concerning was evidence that fluoride accumulated in the pineal gland of the brain.

One of the possible effects of that was the early onset of puberty.

However, Dr Connett said the fact fluoride accumulated in the body at all should be enough to have it banned.

“The fact that we are talking about something that accumulates in the human pineal gland of itself should ban fluoridation tomorrow.”

Other concerns included links to arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

The debate about the safety of fluoridation has been reawakened in South Canterbury as a result of Ministry of Health support for a return of the additive to water supplies there.

It has been hotly debated in Mid-Canterbury this year as the Ashburton District Council voted to end fluoridation.

The Methven Community Board has voted to continue to add fluoride.

Just as the anti-fluoride lobby in New Zealand runs up against support for fluoride from health authorities and dental associations, Dr Connett’s views run contrary to the American Dental Association.

However, Dr Connett said the association had lost credibility by continuing to claim there was no scientific evidence that mercury in fillings was harmful.

That was not so, and Dr Connett said that having removed fluoride from the water people should move on to removing mercury fillings from their teeth.

“It is absolutely inevitable that fluoridation will be stopped — it is just a question of time,” he said.