Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride set to enter New Plymouth’s water supply after instruction from the Director-General of Health

NPDC | July 11, 2023
Posted on July 11th, 2023
Location: New Zealand

New equipment enabling fluoride to be added to the New Plymouth water supply is being put through its paces, after the Director-General of Health instructed NPDC to add fluoride by the end of July this year.

The Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill passed in the Beehive in November 2021, removed the decision for water fluoridation away from councils to the Director-General of Health, because it is a medical issue.

“The Director General of the Ministry of Health has instructed us to put fluoride into the water supply for 26,000 homes across the district and we’ve been testing the equipment to ensure we’re on track to go live at the end of this month,” says NPDC Three Waters

Manager Mark Hall.

The specialised equipment allowing water to be dosed with fluoride costs around $200,000 and has been paid for by the Ministry of Health.

The New Plymouth water supply services homes and businesses in Omata, New Plymouth, Bell Block, Waitara, Lepperton, Tikorangi, Onaero and Urenui.

Ministry of Health advice is that fluoride is a natural substance that helps to prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride has no taste or smell so residents will not notice any difference to their drinking water.

NPDC has not been advised by the Ministry if the Inglewood, ??kura and ?kato water supplies will also need fluoridating in the future.

Fast facts

  • NPDC provides four public water supplies across the district.
  • NPDC is one of 14 councils given the directive to add fluoride by the end of the month.
  • The New Plymouth supply was fluoridated until 2011 following a decision by the elected council to remove it. The remaining three supplies have never been fluoridated.
  • The district’s four water supplies provide about 28 million litres of water per day to just under 28,000 homes and businesses.
  • About 90% of that volume comes from the New Plymouth Water Treatment Plant.

Caption: NPDC’s Clive Fleming installs some of the equipment that will introduce fluoride into New Plymouth’s water supply the end of this month.


Why do we need fluoridated water?

The Ministry of Health (MOH) considers fluoride in drinking water as a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay among Kiwis.

The passing of the Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill in Parliament on 9 November 2021 moved the decision on whether fluoride should be added to community water supplies away from councils and to the Director General of Health.

In July 2022, the Director-General of Health instructed NPDC that fluoride had to be added to New Plymouth water supply no later than 31 July 2023.

Where is the medical or scientific evidence that shows fluoride is safe and prevents tooth decay?

The Ministry of Health has multiple pieces of evidence and various experts which says its safe.

New funding for water fluoridation | Ministry of Health NZ

Fluoride Facts | Ministry of Health NZ

Fluoridation: an evidence update | Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor (pmcsa.ac.nz)

Water fluoridation – YouTube

Do other health providers support this move?

The New Zealand Dental Association, Plunket and the Public Health Association of New Zealand support fluoride in water.

See here for other organisations that support it: Fluoride Facts | Ministry of Health NZ

How much is the change costing?

About $200,000 for the equipment needed to add fluoride to the supply. This is being paid for by MOH.

Is water with fluoride safe to drink?

Yes. Fluoride is naturally occurring and can be found all around us in the air, soil, sea and plants/food. Find out more at Ministry of Health website.

Will my water taste/smell/look the same with fluoride added?

When can we expect fluoride in the other three supplies?

NPDC has not been advised by the Ministry if the Inglewood, ??kura and ?kato water supplies will also need fluoridating in the future.

How can I get fluoride-free water?

Inglewood, ??kura and ?kato water supplies remain fluoride free.

There are also various under-bench filter systems that claim to filter out fluoride.

We recommend investigating their effectiveness before buying

*Original full-text article online at: https://www.npdc.govt.nz/council/news/2023/july/fluoride-set-to-enter-new-plymouth-s-water-supply-after-instruction-from-the-director-general-of-health/