Fluoride Action Network

Thames Coromandel District Council Letter to Ministry of Health About Fluoridation

Source: Press Release: Thames Coromandel District Council | June 10th, 2013
Location: New Zealand

Council has sent a letter to the Ministry of Health asking for an unequivocal assurance that fluoridation has no health effects on any of our population at any time.

The fluoridation of Thames Water has been a contentious issue.

In January this year a consultation process was held on whether fluoride should be retained in the Thames drinking water supply. Following deliberations the Thames Community Board opted to retain the status quo.

Three months later in the draft Annual Plan deliberations, a large number of submissions around fluoride were received, even though it wasn’t an issue specified for consultation. Councillors were evenly split for and against retaining or removing fluoride during deliberations with the Mayor casting the deciding vote to retain the status quo.

“Under the community governance model Council had an obligation to follow what the Thames Community Board had recommended to us, following extensive consultation in January,” says Mayor Glenn Leach. “We listened and supported the Board, even though it may not have been something every Councillor personally agreed with. The Board reflected what its community wanted and we had to respect its decision.”

As fluoridation remains a hotly contested issue Council is seeking clarity from the Ministry of Health with the following letter being sent on behalf of Council by its CE David Hammond.

Letter to Ministry of Health
6 June 2013
Dr Robyn Haisman-Welsh
Chief Dental Officer
Sector Capability and Implementation
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013
Wellington 6145

Dear Dr Haisman-Welsh,

RE: Water Fluoridation in Thames

Thank you for your letter dated 15 May 2013 responding to the Thames Community Board’s questions regarding fluoridation of potable water supplies. Council recently considered the matter of fluoridation of the Thames water supply at its Annual Plan deliberations. Although not directly an Annual Plan issue, over 800 submissions were received by the Council on it.

Fluoridation is and will remain a hotly contested issue by our community.

The Council’s deliberations resolved to retain fluoridation in the water supply and to return to the matter as part of its Ten Year Plan. This Plan is under preparation after July 2013, for
adoption on 1 July 2015. In arriving at this result, it is noted that our Council was evenly split on retaining and discontinuing fluoridation.

The Council has signaled that whilst fluoridation
may well remain in the water supply for this two year period, the certainty of its retention in the water supply in future is gone.

Under resolution, our Council requested from the Ministry an unequivocal assurance that fluoridation had no health effects on any of Council’s population at any time. As the ones
applying the chemical, we need to know this.

To date, the Ministry has not provided such assurance, choosing instead to provide pointers to literature and studies. Our position has moved to the need for the Ministry to provide an unequivocal guarantee as our health partner with us in fluoridating the water.
Secondly, the Council strongly recommends that the Ministry no longer leave this matter to local communities to determine health outcomes through the advocacy process.

As a partner with you through the Health Act, our advice to our partner is that if oral health is seen as extremely important by the Ministry, Government must elevate it to a mandatory requirement.

We have seen our community divided on the issue and as a result a growing number of people are no longer certain about the safety of their health with fluoridation.

To leave this matter for local democracy is not by any means an ideal outcome any longer.

If the Ministry is not successful in elevating the matter to this level of a mandatory national health standard, the future of our partnership with the Ministry in the fluoridation in Thames’ water supply is very tenuous indeed.

Yours sincerely
David Hammond