The debate over adding fluoride to South Taranaki’s water again bubbled to the surface last night.
New York-based anti-fluoride campaigner Paul Connett spoke to about 40 people at the Hawera Community Theatre Lounge as part of his nationwide tour against fluoride.
The South Taranaki District Council voted to introduce the chemical into Patea and Waverley’s water supply some months ago, but Mr Connett said it was never too late to make a change.
“Effecting change is like driving a nail through a piece of wood,” he said.
“The expert can sharpen the nail but he or she can’t push the nail through the piece of wood.
“You need the hammer of public opinion to drive that nail home.”
The chemistry professor and Fluoride Action Network director said the benefits of fluoridating water were so small, and the risks to health so high, that it defied belief why anyone would promote it.
There was no way to control the dose, or who got it, and people’s right to choose was removed, he said.
He pointed to 36 studies that showed fluoride affected IQ levels.
“How can you possibly put teeth above your kids’ brains?”
However, he shied from one conspiracy theory raised by a member of the audience, who questioned whether it was used for population control.
“I don’t think for one moment there are any dentists in the world that want to dumb down the population, limit the world’s population or any of these other theories out there.”
Mr Connett believed regulating bodies would not admit the ineffectiveness of fluoridation because they would lose the trust of the populace.
It was time government agencies admitted the practice was wrong and began winning back the trust of the people.
Educating people on dental hygiene and offering free toothbrushes and toothpaste would be more effective, he said.
“We need education, not fluoridation.”