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Green Party Favours Referenda On Fluoridation

Green Party Favours Local Referenda On New Fluoridation

Fluoridation should not be added to any new water supply without the explicit consent of local communities, Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

Ms Kedgley is backing the decision of the Marlborough District Council not to go ahead with fluoridation at the present time, despite receiving a letter from the Minister of Health urging them to increase the level of fluoridation in drinking water. Sixty other local bodies also received the pro-fluoride letter.

"I completely agree with the Marlborough District Council that a public consultation programme should take place before fluoride is introduced into new water supplies."

"If residents are concerned about introducing fluoridation, a referendum should be held to establish whether a majority of residents favour adding fluoride to water supplies. No local authority should be able to slip fluoride into the water supply without the knowledge and consent of local communities."

Ms Kedgley said that fluoride was a controversial additive, and there is still considerable scientific debate about the benefits and potential health costs of fluoridation.

"Dentists point to advantages in terms of dental health for young people, but it is important to remember that human beings are made up of more than teeth", she said.

"Recent New Zealand research funded by the Health Research Council and ACC confirms overseas studies that show a strong link between the intake of fluoride and hip fractures. Other studies show that fluoride accumulates in the bones and may affect the brain and increase rates of cancer.

"I am particularly concerned about the effects on bottle-fed babies because they receive around 60 times as much fluoride as babies who are breast-fed."

"Tooth decay has declined in New Zealand and throughout the world with or without fluoridation. Much of continental Europe have either never started fluoridation or have discontinued it.

"At a time when fluoride is readily available in both toothpaste and tablet forms, why is it necessary to mass medicate New Zealanders through the water supply?" Ms Kedgley asked.

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6728 or 025 270 9088 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: 04 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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