Fluoride off health board agenda until legislation passed

Nelson Mail | 27 July 2016

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board will not discuss water fluoridation despite some members of the public raising concerns.

The health board decided it would not discuss the potential fluoridation of the region’s water until government legislation determined who is responsible for the decision.

Nelson resident Carleen Reich-Simko addressed advisory committee members of the health board at a meeting on Tuesday over her concerns about water fluoridation.

The former orthodontist assistant said she used to condone the use of fluoride, felt differently after reading a toothpaste tube warning with instructions to call the poison centre if more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste was swallowed.

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She said further research showed there was overwhelming evidence fluoride damaged the human body including tissues, bones and the brain.

“Using a water supply to deliver any substance is a bad idea,” she said. “You can’t control the dosage, you can’t control who gets it and it takes away my right and everyone else’s rights in the community to what they choose to ingest in their body.”

She questioned why only one board member attended the recent talk by chemistry professor and toxicologist Paul Connett and no one took the time to present contrary scientific evidence, or debate the issue.

Board chair Jenny Black said no work was being done by the health board in regards to water fluoridation before the legislation was passed by the Government to hand the responsibility over.

At the last health board meeting in June it was decided that discussion on fluoride in the district was on hold until legislation came through in 2018.

In April, the Government announced plans to transfer decision-making powers for fluoridating water supplies away from local authorities to district health boards.

Legislation to shift fluoridation from local councils to district health boards would come before Parliament by the end of the year. If the bill was passed, it was likely the changes would come into force from mid-2018.

Fluoride would not be discussed as part of the meeting agenda each month.

A one page document had been sent to all board members to assist them with answering questions on fluoride. It also contained other positive actions the health board were undertaking in the oral health area, including the tap into water campaign.

All emails regarding fluoride would be responded to in the same way with people referred to the Nelson Marlborough Health website and the Ministry of Health.


 – Stuff

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