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Auckland Council Rejects Fluoridation for Onehunga

Auckland Council Rejects Fluoridation for Onehunga in Landslide

Auckland Councillors yesterday overwhelmingly voted to reject a proposal to add hazardous fluoride chemicals to the drinking water of Onehunga residents, voting 18 to 3 against the motion.

The vote is in keeping with councils around the country not wanting to take responsibility for the fluoridation debate. Currently 23 out of 67 councils allow fluoridation and all are faced with increasing evidence and international concern that water fluoridation is linked to thyroid problems, lowered IQ and fluorosis. These health risks are difficult to square when the recorded and actual dental benefits of fluroride come from applying flouride to the outside of teeth, not by swallowing.

The vote on whether to fluoridate the water supply in Onehunga was revisited because fluoridationists argue that 2001 was ‘a long time ago and we need to review the feeling in the community’. This argument flies in the face of the gold standard, international Cochrane Review that found no modern reliable evidence that fluoridation actually reduces dental decay.

Speaking at the council meeting yesterday ahead of the vote, Fluoride Free NZ Auckland Representative, Kane Titchener, raised concerns the US Public Health Service this year recommended to lower the allowable maximum target for fluoridation to 0.7ppm, down from a range of 0.7 - 1.2ppm. The Ministry of Health’s recommendation is a range 0.7 – 1.0ppm with most councils (including Auckland) opting for a target of 0.85ppm. The NZ Ministry of Health’s recommendation is now significantly higher than what is allowed in the United States.

To put yesterday’s vote into context, a referendum was held in what was the Onehunga Borough in 2001 which resulted in 66% of voters opposing fluoridation. The residents of Onehunga understand the fluoridation issue better than most. When Metro Water was in charge of supplying drinking water to many households in Onehunga, 2000 households requested notification of any planned maintenance shutdowns to ensure that they could make alternative arrangements to access non-fluoridated drinking water. This notification is possibly the greatest example of informed consent regarding fluoridation in New Zealand. Watercare Services Ltd no longer provides this service citing cost as the reason.

In another vote on fluoridation yesterday, the results of a referendum in the currently fluoridated township of Thames found that most of the 3000 people who voted wanted to continue fluoridation. Thames is a conservative community with a high percentage of retired people. Fluoride Free NZ believes the case put forward by those wishing to force fluoridation on the whole Thames community amounted to very little more than “believe us, we’re the experts”. It is doubtful that any of those who voted to continue fluoridation realise that fluoride has no health benefits to teeth when swallowed in drinking water.

Fortunately for the residents of Onehunga, Auckland Councillors yesterday considered all the facts presented on water fluoridation and voted No.

ENDS

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