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UK Against Fluoridation

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fluoride fears discussed at Nelson meeting

ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
Nelson residents attend a community meeting on water fluoridation at Stoke Memorial Hall on Saturday.
Nelson residents attend a community meeting on water fluoridation at Stoke Memorial Hall on Saturday.More than 100 people gathered at a community meeting in Stoke held by those opposed to plans to fluoridate Nelson's water supply for the first time.
Meeting organiser Sara Cooper said the event was a chance for the community to come together, hear from guest speaker dentist Dr Stan Litras and ask questions about fluoridation.  
"As much as [fluoride] may be good for strengthening teeth, there are many other things it is not good for as well," Cooper said. It came down to basic human rights and freedom of choice and the meeting was a chance to make a stand for the community when it came to medication, she said.
"It is up to a doctor to tell us whether we need to have fluoride and it is up to us to decide if we want it."
In August, the NMDHB confirmed it's position on water fluoridation by adopting a formal statement endorsing it as an important public health measure to maintain good oral health, the prevention of tooth decay and the reduction of health inequalities.Cooper said people needed to ask questions of the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board about the effects of fluoridation to be satisfied that it was 100 per cent safe for consumption. 
Wellington dentist Dr Stan Litras who founded the Fluoride Information Network for Dentists was a guest speaker at the meeting. "It is ineffective at reducing tooth decay, it's a risk to health, it's not cheap and there are much better ways to fight tooth decay," Litras said to the crowd. "Nelson Marlborough, despite never having fluoridated water has among the lowest childhood caries rates in the country."
Litras has previously spoken out against Nelson Marlborough District Health Board's campaign to fluoridate Nelson's water supply, and the NMDHB's principal dental officer Dr Rob Beaglehole has referred to Litras as an "outlier" in the dental profession. 
Beaglehole said the NMDHB's position will be guided by the science which showed that fluoridation was safe. "Sir Peter Gluckman, chief science advisor to the Prime Minister, stated in his recent report that it is absolutely clear that at the low doses proposed, there is no risk from fluoride in the water," he said. Beaglehole said many scientific studies and over five decades of experience in a number of countries around the world have shown that community water fluoridation was safe and effective. It was also seen by many in public health as a key way to reduce social inequality.
"What we know from comparison with other communities in New Zealand, is that if Nelson introduced community water fluoridation we would see a reduction in pain and suffering caused by tooth decay," Beaglehole said. "We'd see an approximate 40 per cent drop in new tooth decay amongst kids and 30 per cent in adults with most of the benefits occurring in our lower socio-economic communities."
NMDHB chief executive Chris Fleming said while the DHB welcomed discussion on the topic, a decision was made not to formally attend the meeting and a community discussion would be held on the topic in due course.
Board chair Jenny Black supported the decision:  "We will be considering a formal position on community water fluoridation and any proposed plans in Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough early in the new year."

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