Fluoride Action Network

Whakatane: Referendum on water fluoridation in October 2013

Source: Bay of Plenty District Health Board | Website | July 19th, 2013
Location: New Zealand

Express your views about water FLUORIDATION in the Whakatane District Council referendum in October 2013

How can I express my views about water fluoridation?

The Whakatane and Ohope water supplies are fluoridated, and have been for many years, with fluoridation introduced for Whakatane in 1972.  In October the Whakatane District Council is holding a referendum to ask people about whether the Council should continue adding fluoride (in the form of hydrofluorosilicic acid) to the Whakatane and Ohope water supplies. Council also wants to know whether or not fluoride should be added to the other water supplies in the District.

The referendum will be held at the same time as the three yearly local government elections.

Previous referenda have shown majority voter support for community water fluoridation.

  • In 1995, 54% of voters voted to keep water fluoridation in Whakatane.
  • In 2001, 68% of voters voted to keep water fluoridation in Whakatane.

If you think water fluoridation is important then make sure you vote to express your views in the referendum.

The Ministry of Health and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board strongly recommend water fluoridation as a safe, effective and affordable way to help prevent and reduce tooth decay for everyone in the community.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board statement for the Whakatane District Council referendum about water fluoridation, to be held October 2013:

Water fluoridation is when the natural fluoride level in our water supply is topped up with just enough fluoride to help protect our teeth from decay. The vast majority of medical and dental experts recommend water fluoridation because:

  • Water fluoridation is safe. The science is clear that the level used for water fluoridation in New Zealand is safe.  Too much of anything that the body needs, like salt, sunlight or fluoride, can cause harm.  There is no risk of getting too much fluoride from drinking fluoridated water.
  • Water fluoridation is effective. Sixty years of research shows that water fluoridation helps prevent tooth decay.  Along with brushing twice a day, choosing low sugar foods and drinks, and having regular dental checkups, water fluoridation helps to protect our teeth and provides lifelong benefits.
  • Water fluoridation is natural.  When fluoride, in the form of hydrofluorosilicic acid, is added to water it is the same as naturally occurring fluoride.
  • Water fluoridation is fair. Everyone with their own teeth benefits from water fluoridation, especially the young and those who find it more difficult to afford dental care and checkups.
  • It’s about community. If we do not have water fluoridation, our children and especially those disadvantaged in our community will suffer more tooth decay.  It is our duty to help look after the health of everyone in our communities.

Make sure you vote to express your views.

Recommended links and references for further information on the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation:

Gluckman, P. (2013). What is in the water? Office of the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Committee, available: www.pmcsa.org.nz/blog/what-is-in-the-water/.

Ministry of Health Fluoridation: www.health.govt.nz/our-work/preventative-health-wellness/fluoridation.

National Fluoridation Information Service. NFIS Documents, available: www.rph.org.nz/content/14350004-1cf6-45ad-a32d-d35311bfe2fc.html

Ministry of Health (2010). Our Oral Health: Key Findings of the 2009 New Zealand Oral Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health, retrieved from: www.health.govt.nz/publication/our-oral-health-key-findings-2009-new-zealand-oral-health-survey.

Department of Human Services (2009). Water Fluoridation Questions and Answers. Melbourne: Victorian Government, retrieved from: http://docs.health.vic.gov.au/docs/doc/1985092C7386F622CA257AA90004CEE0/$FILE/HS986_fluor_Q&A_WEB.pdf.

Lee, M, Dennison, PJ (2004). Water fluoridation and dental caries in 5- and 12-year-old children from Canterbury and Wellington. New Zealand Dental Journal. 100 (1):10-15, available: www.healthysmiles.org.nz/assets/pdf/NZDJMarch04-Waterfluoridation.pdf