Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Last Gulp for Hamilton Fluoride


Last Gulp for Hamilton Fluoride

BY GEOFFREY ROBINSON and REIHANA ROBINSON

As its tribunal date fast approaches, Hamilton City Council faces little choice but to turn off the tap and end its controversial practice of drinking water fluoridation once and for all.

With public opinion tilting heavily against addition of chemical fluoride (hydrofluorosilicic acid) to city water, mounting concerns in the scientific and medical communities, and serious ethical questions, there is scant justification left for Hamilton to continue forced mass medication of the city’s population.

In response to its recent month-long campaign for public input, the tribunal received an unprecedented 1,560 submissions. Of those, 1,386 (89 per cent) oppose fluoridation – an overwhelming majority that erases all doubt as to where residents stand.

An examination of submissions reveals broad opposition, ranging from ordinary householders and parents to those identified with dental and orthodontic practices, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, NZ Health Trust, NZ Journal of Natural Medicine, naturopathic and general health practices, and organisations from Grey Power and Soil and Health to the Waikato Clinical School.

The submissions against Hamilton’s fluoride practice number more than ten times those received during the annual plan process only two years ago. Opposition has clearly grown. Approximately 150 submitters have asked to address the tribunal, stretching the hearings to four days.

The Waikato District Health Board is required to support the pro-fluoridation policy of the Ministry of Health and, consequently, Hamilton’s 47-year-old fluoridation habit. Of the minority of submitters supporting fluoridation, many are associated with the DHB itself or MOH.

Just prior to HCC’s call for public submissions, the Waikato DHB ratcheted up its political lobbying efforts behind the scenes, with a troubling and professionally unusual medical “Grand Rounds” presentation on the subject of drinking water fluoridation. In the world of medical education, grand rounds are a form of ongoing education for practitioners, commonly in lecture and question format. Generally reflecting the highest of academic standards and welcoming of both professionals and all interested lay people, grand rounds are an academic forum reflecting the best tradition of broadening knowledge, learning and understanding. The Robinsons, as a matter of personal interest, have attended grand rounds at one well-known North American medical school.

But the late February Waikato DHB grand rounds “lecture”, presented by medical officer of heath Felicity Dumble and principle dental officer and Hamilton dentist Rob Aitken, was something different. Startling some in attendance, the presenters opened with instructions that anyone associated with any media -- newspaper, radio or other public information outlet -- was required to leave the room immediately. Unlike proper grand rounds, attendees were told the event was “a private meeting”.

One highly qualified health professional characterised the day’s intro as “like a fascist lock down”. What followed was reportedly less academic than expected and more a political effort to bolster support for fluoridation among local medical and health professionals. The speakers reportedly presented sketchy and incomplete data promoting fluoridation and ridiculed scientific evidence associating fluoridation with disorders from osteoporosis and vascular disease to impaired foetal development and lowered cognitive function.

A question from another physician in attendance requesting peer-reviewed studies that support the DHB stance was brushed aside. The audience instead heard a plea for continued fluoridation of drinking water.

The Waikato District Health Board will be the main “group presenter” supporting fluoridation at HCC’s climactic tribunal.

Three HCC councillors -- Pippa Mahood, Martin Gallagher, and Ewan Wilson – are elected members of the Waikato DHB. The three also sit on the DHB Community and Public Health Advisory Committee, which advises the full board on policies like fluoridation in Hamilton. By virtue of their DHB jobs, the three have obvious, major conflicts of interest in respect of the HCC fluoride tribunal.

Were Mahood, Wilson, or Gallagher to participate, it would be like serving on a jury where the chief prosecutor is one’s brother-in-law. They should step down or be excused by tribunal chairman Mayor Julie Hardaker.

Other councillors, like former DHB member and deputy mayor Gordon Chesterman, may have opinions on fluoridation going into the tribunal. But that is realistically to be expected and, after all, someone has to decide.

As for its decision, HCC has no legal mandate to medicate the general population, and the purported benefits of drinking water fluoridation are far from proven and widely debated at best. Health risks cannot be discounted. Safety cannot be guaranteed. Councillors are not medical practitioners. Forced medication is unethical. There are inexpensive and readily available alternatives. The public rejects fluoridation by a wide margin.

There is no other choice. Hamilton fluoridation has to end.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

'Tea Break Bill' Passes: Gordon Campbell On Bad Labour Laws And Poor Safety

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners.

The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

No Charges: Outcome Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area... More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news