Lobby groups are calling for a halt to the fluoridation of Masterton’s drinking water, which they say causes adverse health effects.
Masterton District Council received seven anti-fluoride submissions, towards their annual plan, which will be adopted on June 26, but say they will continue to follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, which supports fluoridation of drinking water.
Featherston Fluoride Action Network spokeswoman Ms Byrne said only 22 of New Zealand’s 67 councils fluoridate their water and wants Masterton District Council to review its use of the additive.
“I don’t think that they have reviewed it and I don’t think people in Masterton have ever been asked either,” Ms Byrne said.
She said there are serious questions around the safety of fluoridation.
“It will be detracting from everyone’s health because it’s a poison, it’s not a nutrient.
“In the long run, probably one of the most likely [side effects] is that fluoride causes skeletal fluorosis, the first stage of the disease the symptoms are exactly like arthritis, it’s likely that a lot of the arthritis today is actually skeletal fluorosis,” Ms Byrne said.
She said fluoride is also linked to thyroid problems and can increase the risk of cancer.
“There is good research to say that drinking fluoridated water can cause osteosarcoma cancer in young men,” she said.
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer.
Hamilton councillors voted vote 7-1 to remove fluoride from their water.
Hastings and Whakatane councils are holding a referendums later in the year.
“Considering there’s no bodily requirement, it doesn’t make any sense to put it in the water; so it just seems ridiculous to be adding it.”
She said top fluoridation promoters are now saying fluoride has to be applied to the teeth to work; not swallowed.
Ms Byrne said people should avoid using fluoridated water when making up babies’ bottles.
Masterton District Council chief executive Wes ten Hove said council follows the advice of the Ministry of Health regarding fluoridation.
Mr ten Hove said Masterton has had fluoride in the water supply for “decades”. He said council were not considering a referendum on the issue.
Carterton and South Wairarapa do not have fluoride in their water.
A statement on the Ministry of Health website states the ministry “strongly supports water fluoridation as a safe, effective and affordable way to prevent and reduce tooth decay across the whole population.”
They say the added fluoride poses no health risk, at the level implemented, and does not change the nature or purity of drinking water.
Masterton-based toxicologist Rosalind Dalefield agreed the level of fluoride in Masterton’s drinking water is not dangerous to people’s health.
“The key issue is the dose, the dose makes the poison, and at the level that drinking water is fluoridated there is no danger at all,” Dr Dalefield said.