Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Review finds community water fluoridation safe and effective

Review finds community water fluoridation safe and effective

A review of the scientific evidence for and against the efficacy and safety of fluoridation of public water supplies has found that the levels of fluoridation used in New Zealand create no health risks and provide protection against tooth decay. Councils currently implementing this measure can be confident about its public health benefits, while those not currently fluoridating water can consider it a safe and effective option.

The review, entitled Health Effects of Water Fluoridation: a Review of the Scientific Evidence, was commissioned by Sir Peter Gluckman, the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor and Sir David Skegg, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand at the request of Auckland City on behalf of several local Councils.

“The process for the review was rigorous,” said Sir David Skegg. “It included an extensive evaluation of the scientific literature by a panel of five experts, as well as one lay observer with local body experience. The resulting report was reviewed by three international experts and by the Director of the National Poisons Centre,” he said.

According to Skegg, the panel paid particularly close attention to the claims that fluoride contributes to the risks of cancer, musculoskeletal and hormonal disorders, as well as to claims that it has adverse effects on brain development – these being the major contentions about potential harms that have been made.

“The panel concluded that the concerns raised by those opposed to fluoridation are not supported by the scientific evidence,” said Skegg.

According to the report, the only side effect of fluoridation at the levels used in New Zealand is mild dental fluorosis, which can cause opaque white areas in the tooth enamel that is usually of no cosmetic significance. This is found to be as common in non-fluoridated areas as it is in fluoridated areas, which is probably a reflection of behaviour such as swallowing of fluoridated toothpaste by young children.

“The review finds compelling evidence that fluoridation of the water at the established and recommended levels produces broad and continuing benefits for the dental health of New Zealanders,” said Sir Peter Gluckman. “The public can be reassured on the basis of robust scientific data, that the implementation of this public health measure poses no risk of adverse health effects,” he said.

“It is worth noting that dental health remains a major issue for much of the New Zealand population, particularly in communities of low socioeconomic status.”

From a scientific perspective, the report finds that community water fluoridation provides a cost-effective and equitable way of improving public health. However, it should be noted that the review does not address the broader philosophical issues that have surrounded fluoridation.

Visit Health Effects of Water Fluoridation for full report, executive summary and a list of contributors.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Welcome Home: Record High Migration Stokes 41-Year High Population Growth

New Zealand annual net migration hit a new high in October as more people arrived from than departed for Australia for the first time in more than 20 years. More>>


Citizens' Advice Bureau: Report Shows Desperate Housing Situation Throughout NZ

CAB's in-depth analysis of over 2000 client enquiries about emergency accommodation shows vulnerable families, pregnant women and children living in cars and garages, even after seeking assistance from the Ministry of Social Development and Housing New Zealand. More>>


Speaking For The Bees: Greens Call For Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban

The National Government should ban the use of controversial pesticides called neonicotinoids after evidence has revealed that even at low doses they cause harm to bee populations, the Green Party said today. More>>


Science Awards: NZAS Celebrate NZ Scientific Achievements

The Marsden Medal is awarded for a lifetime of outstanding service to the cause or profession of science, in recognition of service rendered to the cause or profession of science in the widest connotation of the phrase. This year’s medal is awarded to Dr Mike Andrews. More>>


Court Rules: Affco 'Unlawfully' Locked Out Meat Workers

The note says the full court found for the plaintiffs, "that is that the defendant locked out the second plaintiffs unlawfully and that it breached s 32 of the Act by acting otherwise than in good faith towards the plaintiffs while collective bargaining was still going on." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news