Fluoride Action Network

Free-flowing fight over fluoridation

Source: Newstalk ZB | May 26th, 2015 | By Laura Heathcote, Health
Location: New Zealand

There are renewed calls for the government to make a call on the contentious issue of water fluoridation.

Health authorities in Nelson want the city’s water supply fluoridated, prompting the council to send a strongly-worded letter to the ministers of Health and Local Government, saying the issue needs to be dealt with nationally.

The situation is reversed in Palmerston North, where the council there has just installed a tap with non-fluoridated water to help appease residents who do not want it in their drinking supply.

Mayor Grant Smith argues that at an installation cost to ratepayers of about $9000, the tap is a good option.

“We had the opportunity…to offer those residents that were unhappy with fluoride in the city’s water system to have a tap which they could utilise knowing it was fluoride free.”

Fluoride Action Network’s Mary Byrne believes it’s better than nothing, but she would prefer the arrangement was reversed.

“They could have had that tap with fluoridated water and then it would be interesting to see how many people actually bothered to go to the tap,” she said. “I doubt it would be many.”

The FAN claims the issue is essentially about medication which should be “a decision between the patient and their doctor. It’s never a decision to be made by local councillors and DHB members, or central government.”

Byrne thinks it’s reprehensible the Council continues to have the chemical in the main water supply.

Mayor Smith expects the issue will be a hot topic at Local Government New Zealand’s annual conference in July.

“We would hope that the government might take a leadership role in taking that debate out of councils’ hands and making it a national issue.”