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Fluoridation projects can now be subsidised 100%

18 March 2004 Media Statement

Water fluoridation projects can now be subsidised 100 percent

Subsidies to fluoridate drinking water can now cover the whole cost of the capital works of a fluoridation project at the discretion of the Health Minister.

Annette King says "Because of the important public health benefits of adding fluoride to drinking water, the Cabinet has approved funding to cover up to 100 percent of the cost of the capital works required to add fluoride."

Under the Sanitary Works Subsidy Scheme (SWSS) which came into effect on July the first last year, the subsidy available for works needed to add fluoride to community drinking water was 50 percent of the cost of capital works.

"This is a great opportunity for communities that are currently missing out on the benefits of fluoridated water to put together a proposal and tap into the $1.5 million pool of money the government has made available annually for fluoridation projects," Ms King says.

The Sanitary Works Subsidy Scheme is a government initiative to help small to medium sized communities upgrade sewage treatment and disposal facilities and add fluoride to drinking water.

A number of studies of the benefits of fluoridation to the primary and permanent teeth of children have demonstrated significant reductions in decay rates ranging from 20 to 80 percent.

The Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd report for the Ministry of Health, The Cost Effectiveness of Fluoridated Water Supplies in New Zealand (released in February 2000) showed that fluoridated water can be cost- effective for a community of 1000 people or even fewer.

Communities wanting to take advantage of the subsidy can get further information from the Ministry's website (Sanitary Works Subsidy Scheme) and click on 'publications', or contact their local public health service where applications can be made to the Medical Officer of Health.


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