Taranaki looks likely to have fluoride in its water for the foreseeable future as the majority of District Health Board candidates indicated their support.
All decisions around fluoride in drinking water will be made by district health boards from mid 2018, if proposed legislation is passed next year.
Lyn Humphreys said people should listen to the experts.
“I don’t think we should be going against the advice of New Zealand experts and dentists who say it is good, very effective and safe.”
But Bev Gibson, who is anti fluoride said the science wasn’t conclusive.
“So, I’m reading my material to make sure my view is correct. I have a lot of material to get through.”
Anti fluoride candidate Garth Weir said he wanted to live in a democracy.
“To have to have compulsory medication in your water, fluoride, against my will says that I no longer live in the land of the free. You want this – you pay and don’t force your wacky ideas on me. Water should be pure and adulterated, not tampered with.”
Alby James said he was also against fluoridation.
“There’s been research done by the medical journal The Lancet, which is one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, and they’ve done tests on it and classified it as a neurotoxin.
“I wouldn’t want to be putting a neurotoxin in my drinking water or in my children’s drinking water.”
But three pro fluoride health professionals were concerned about children whose teeth would be adversely affected.
Dr Rose Bruce said the science behind removing fluoride was “junk”. She had seen it removed from water, and there were extra dental caries and extractions geographically from the areas that have taken it out, she said.
“Unfortunately the folks who do not want it are not the nurses, doctors, dentists and dental therapists who end up treating the children with mouths of rotten teeth.”
Alison Brown agreed. “I’ve worked as a pediatric nurse for many years and I’ve seen the results of no fluoride – children coming in and needing an anesthetic to have six or eight teeth removed. Anti fluoride people say they don’t have a choice. Children don’t have a choice.”
Dr Robert Shaw said the region was facing a serious situation.
“There are an enormous number of surgical procedures done on children that would be unnecessary if there was fluoride in the water. There is lots of poverty in Taranaki.”
Other candidates were pro fluoride, but with conditions.
Jo James said she supported fluoridation of drinking water at levels of between 0.6-1.1 mg/l, dependent on climate.
“When compared with other means of accessing fluoride , this is the most effective and socially equitable means of ensuring community-wide access to the dental caries prevention effects of fluoride.”
Jim Tucker said he had reported on the court case taken against South Taranaki District Council – now settled in the council’s favour – and heard nothing from the opponents to convince him there were hazards.
“Other than, of course, the philosophical arguments about mass medication, which similarly arose in 1967. Despite those experiences, if elected to the health board I would want to undertake some in-depth research again before reaching any conclusions affecting New Plymouth.”
Kura Denness said it depended on what type of fluoride and Karen Pratt recommended ‘all sides’ read the report ‘Health Effects of Water Fluoridation A review of scientific evidence’ August 2014.
David Showler reserved judgment until the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council report of both positive and negative health findings was published in 2017.
James Reo said he was open minded about the issue.
“When the time arrives for the board to decide, the people of Taranaki deserve a considered and informed decision by their board members. Shooting from the hip right now is both premature and a ridiculous process. If the TDHB decides to formally consult the community, should those candidates who have already made-up their minds abstain from the vote? I think so.”
FOR: Brien Bennett, Neil Evetts, Te Aroha Hohaia, Josh Cleaver, David Lean, Elizabeth Plant, Shirani Smith, Harry Duynhoven, Servaas Botha, Kevin Nielsen, Alison Brown, Annette Cameron, Lyn Humphreys, Karen Pratt, Robert Shaw, Rose Bruce, Jo James, Jim Tucker, Kura Denness
AGAINST: Bev Gibson, Garth Weir, Alby James.
ON THE FENCE: John Lawson, James Reo, David Showler
DIDN’T COMMENT: John Moore, Bee Bannick, Maree Gendall,