An impassioned plea for courage brought only silence during the second day of submissions on New Plymouth water fluoridation practices.
Taranaki District Health Board member Colleen Tuuta yesterday distanced herself from her pro-fluoridation board and asked New Plymouth District councillors to stop fluoridating the district’s water supply.
“I don’t think it’s information you need for this act of civil and community service. I think it’s courage. Say no. This is not 100 per cent conclusive. The more recent findings would suggest at the very least we should review the situation. At the very least we should do no harm,” Ms Tuuta said.
She told councillors the only thing that should be coming out of taps was “waimaori” – or water that was both “natural and neutral”.
As with all submitters against water fluoridation the end of Ms Tuuta’s submission was punctuated with applause.
However, unlike other submitters, Ms Tuuta did not have one question put to her by councillors.
“You must have done well. You have stunned us into silence,” New Plymouth mayor Harry Duynhoven told Ms Tuuta.
The plea from the well respected Ms Tuuta is sure to carry weight with the councillors who the day before had heard the TDHB argue to continue fluoridation in the district and expand it to all towns of 1000 or more.
Water in New Plymouth, Waitara, Urenui and Lepperton is currently treated but water in Inglewood, Okato and Oakura is not.
Groups from all three non-fluoridated towns were among submitters yesterday and all asked their water stay untreated.
New Plymouth man Alan Hall took a different approach from many opponents and focused on the inefficiency of the district’s $18,000 annual fluoridation programme rather than the possible and perceived health risks.
With just 1 per cent of the district’s water used for drinking, $17,720 worth of fluoride was going to waste Mr Hall said.
“I think there would be a win-win situation for everyone if everyone had their heads together and came up with something better,” he said.
Whether councillors decide something “better” is necessary or the status quo will do will be known on October 13 when the future of fluoridation in the district will be announced.
With both camps assured their view is right, whatever decision is made is bound to be unpopular.