HASTINGS Greens council candidates are urging the Administrator, Neil Porter, to reconsider his stance against a poll on water fluoridation.

“Water fluoridation is an issue that the public feel very strongly about,” said Ian Oxenford, group spokesmen for the Greens Team.

“The most democratic way to resolve this controversial issue is to have a poll. With an election coming up, the rational thing to do would be to hold the poll at the same time as the Local Council elections.

“A poll would clarify what people want, and holding it at election time would save money. The poll would add around $30,000 to the cost. But if we were to have a separate poll later, we’d be looking at around $300,000. Ten times the cost.

“At the moment, residents feel that their democratic rights have been infringed. They have not given their permission for fluoride to be added to the water. In fact, in the last poll conducted, around 70% of people were against it.

“If a government wants to administer medicines or chemicals through the water supply, there must be irrefutable evidence that it is safe and effective.

“We can’t merely rely on what was done in the past. The practise of water fluoridation has been phased out in most countries in the world due to lack of sufficient evidence and increasing doubts as to its safety.”

“Professor Mark Diesendorf, wrote a very interesting paper on water fluoridation. He reveals that statistics show a very different story than the one we’ve always been told.

“There is no doubt that the incidence of dental caries did go down in fluoridated areas, but they were also going down in non-fluoridated areas as well. It turned out that fluoride wasn’t the reason for the decrease in caries. But what they were discovering was a significant increase in health side effects.

“I’m not a doctor, or a dentist so I don’t want to go into all the health and safety issues of fluoridation except to say that people are rightly concerned.

“These days, people are more informed and better educated. They don’t accept things at face value just because it’s been done in the past, or because the authorities tell them it’s good for them.

“It’s interesting to note that there are only 6 countries left in the world that still carry out significant water fluoridation.

“We need up-to-date independent studies on the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation. Otherwise we should proceed with caution. Till then, the fairest thing to do is hold a democratic poll and hear what the electorate is saying.”