The Government is planning to implement mandatory fluoridation to the whole of New Zealand. Currently, only around 50% of households are on fluoridated water, with only 23 out of 67 local councils still fluoridating, while voicing their growing concerns about fluoridation risks and dangers. In response to more and more councillors and mayors deciding against fluoridation, the Government is now taking the decision away from local councils and communities and putting the power into the hands of District Health Boards (DHB), who are under the direct control of Central Government.

This legislation is a misguided response to the growing public demand on councils to stop fluoridation. Councillors in many areas have had the opportunity to hear both sides of the issue, including the latest science. Like most New Zealanders, once they are aware of all the facts, they become much less likely to support fluoridation.

The Ministry of Health knows now they can no longer win this debate in an open public forum. This legislation will close down debate and force fluoridation onto everyone, including people who are hypersensitive to fluoride. Claims that the DHBs will still be open to public input are pure spin, since the DHBs are contractually obligated to carry out MoH policy.

The local DHBs will be forced to add fluoridation chemicals to the drinking water of every community in the country, and councils and the public will be powerless. New Zealand will then be one of only three countries in the world with mandatory fluoridation, along with Singapore and the Republic of Ireland. Places such as Christchurch, Nelson, Rotorua, Napier and Whangarei that have never had fluoridation will now get it. And places such as Ashburton, Tauranga and New Plymouth that fought to stop fluoridation will also have it forced back on them.

To their surprise and confusion, the latest published research from pro-fluoride New Zealand dentists shows that there is no difference in tooth decay rates between non-Maori children in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. In fact, what New Zealand research also shows is that twice as many children (30% compared to 15%) of children in fluoridated areas have permanent damage to their teeth in the form of dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is the first outward sign a child has been over exposed to fluoride when their teeth were developing. Fluoride is a toxin, and not a nutrient by any definition, as it was thought to be, seventy years ago. Some fluoridation supporters have not yet learned this.

It is obvious that fluoride exposure should be immediately and dramatically reduced, as Auckland council has quietly done just last month, yet the Government is taking the perverse backward step of increasing it.

Last year, Kent University (UK) published a study in the British Medical Journal which examined 98% of all medical practices, which found that women in fluoridated areas were 60% more likely to suffer from thyroid disease. In the most comprehensive review of fluoride ever to be conducted, the US National Research Council found that even very low levels of fluoride are damaging thyroid function. Thyroid disease is today at an all-time high, affecting fertility, metabolism and depression.

Also last year, published research from the US, found children in fluoridated areas were more likely to have ADHD. Because of this, and the hundreds of other studies linking fluoride to lowered IQ and other neurological damage, the prestigious US National Toxicology Program is now reviewing all the available literature to determine what level damage to the brain occurs from fluoride exposure. They will also conduct their own new animal studies. Panel member, Dr Linda Birnbaum stated “We know nothing of the individual vulnerability or susceptibility”. [see more about this here]

Why then does the Government want to give every New Zealander an uncontrolled dose of this Class 7 neurotoxin?

The legislation proposed for later this year would eventually be in place by 2018. Therefore, New Zealanders from all corners of the country need to voice their strong opposition. The obvious solution for dental health is to adopt a NZ version of the proven international programmes like Scotland’s Childsmile, which is saving teeth, saving pain, and saving millions of dollars. Scotland has never had fluoridation, and since they’ve implemented the Childsmile programme, Scottish kids now have much better teeth than Kiwi kids [see more about this here]

See Fluoride Free’s National Campaign page for details of public meetings and what you can do.