Fluoride Action Network

Wellington: Fluoridation a hot issue

Source: The Dominion Post | June 6th, 2013 | By George Driver
Location: New Zealand

A petition calling for the removal of fluoride from the water supply was presented to Wellington City Council during draft annual plan submissions last month.

The strategy and policy committee also heard a strong case from science advocacy group the Royal Society of New Zealand in favour of fluoridation.

Fluoride is added to the water supply throughout the Wellington region, with the exception of Petone and Korokoro.

Those areas draw from an unfluoridated reservoir and opted not to add fluoride following a public survey in 2000.

Water fluoridation is being debated in councils throughout New Zealand.

Evidence against fluoridation was submitted to the council by petition co-ordinator, neuromuscular therapist Lynn Jordan, lobby group Fluoride Action Network New Zealand, and by nutritionist Debby Gully.

They argued that fluoridation was associated with health issues, including cancer, infant mortality and arthritis, and had questionable benefits for dental health.

Ms Jordan submitted a list of 107 New Zealand health professionals, including 21 from Wellington, who opposed fluoridation of the water supply.

Other countries were moving against water fluoridation, she said.

Ms Gully said only 5 per cent of the world’s population was subjected to water fluoridation.

Ms Gully questioned the ethics of medicating the water supply.

“It’s unethical to mass medicate the population without their consent.”

Fluoride Action Network NZ national co-ordinator Mary Byrne said fluoridated water provided little benefit to dental health.

She said fluoride was only effective if applied directly on to teeth and not when ingested in water.

In New Zealand, 93 per cent of the population used a fluoride toothpaste, which had a concentration of 1000 parts per million.

Fluoridated water had just 0.85 parts per million, Ms Bryne said.

However, fluoridation was supported in a statement from Royal Society president Sir David Skegg, tabled by councillor Jo Coughlan.

He said fluoridation was demonstrably safe.

“There has been extensive research over many decades indicating that fluoridation is a safe and effective measure for reducing the incidence of dental cares,” Sir David wrote.

After the meeting, councillor Andy Foster said it was unlikely there would be any change to the council’s position supporting the addition of fluoride to the water supply.

“We rely on Ministry of Health advice.

“We are not experts,” he said.

However, councillor Bryan Pepperell, who said he had a fluoride filter installed in his home, believed the issue should be reviewed by the council.

“There’s a growing body of evidence that says fluoridation does not do what it claims it does,” Mr Pepperell said.

Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor recently called for the Ministry of Health to review its stance on water fluoridation.