Fluoridation (2)
Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 12:41PM
Bill Barclay

This is the column that I prepared for inclusion in the Penisula Press for 9 June to accompany the page 3 story on the arrival of this issue back on the table. It was inadvertantly dropped, but may appear this week, though I have another column prepared - mainly on water issues. 

Like Haley’s Comet, fluoridation of our water supply raises passions every few years Getting to the bottom of the rationale behind deeply held beliefs of the dangers of what is claimed to be a poisonous substance, has led to some quite extraordinary and inflammatory statements about potential damage to our health.

Thames has the only fluoridated water supply on the Peninsula – other communities have never asked for it. The cost of fluoridation is said to be no more than around $2,000 a year, and for this the children of Thames are protected from dental caries.  The ravages that caused considerable damage and pain, and consequent ill-health through tooth deterioration to those whose childhood pre-dates its introduction, are unknown to today’s children who live in areas where water is fluoridated.  .

The current generation of parents in particular need to have a say in any move to remove fluoride from our water supply. No councillor has any right to assume that he or she has a mandate to take such action without full public consultation, especially in view of the fact that the matter was not raised at any point during the election campaign.

It is disturbing to note that Mayor Leach informed Thames Councillors at a recent Council meeting that all they needed to do was to pass a motion at the Community Board to ask Council to remove it, and that it would be done. Crs. Hoadley and Connors gave every indication that they would pursue the matter at the earliest opportunity.

This was totally inappropriate advice in my opinion, and caused the Chief Executive to issue a warning against undertaking such action – his experience with this issue as a Government appointee on the Bay of Plenty Health Board has clearly given him an insight as to the depth of public feeling on both sides of the argument. This is clearly a Thames issue, and Thames people need to make their concerns clearly understood to their Councillors and Community Board members before precipitate action is taken.

Parents, and others should keep an open mind, and treat information purporting to be evidence of adverse health consequences with scepticism. Now that debate on this matter has been joined, I have no doubt that ratepayers will be inundated with really scary information by anti-fluoridation groups, including one operating in this town. 

For an opposing view, one or two sites are mentioned on the NZ Ministry of Health website, http://www.moh.govt.nz/fluoride, that debunk the whole notion of the alleged danger surrounding fluoride. One in particular - http://www.quackwatch.org/03HealthPromotion/fluoride.html is well worth a visit before jumping to any conclusions.

Residents should be wary of allowing a small group of no-doubt well-intentioned activists to determine a health issue that it is important to everyone living in this town.



Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
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