Fluoridation of our water
You may be aware that there’s currently a bill before parliament to change the way that fluoridation of our drinking water is handled. Presently District Health Boards have the individual power to decide whether the water for the populations they serve is fluoridated or not. The bill would take that power away from the DHBs and give it to the Director-General of Health.
Letting DHBs have the power to control this makes them susceptible to health cranks who want to prevent fluoridation of our water supply. Having seen the lists of people standing for DHBs it makes sense that the power is vested with qualified experts!
The bill has been open to public submissions, and I (unfortunately) got to witness some of the oral submissions via Facebook Live. The vast majority of the submitters were against fluoridation! They trotted out the usual anti-fluoridation talking points, such as that fluoride is a neurotoxin and that fluoridation chemicals are contaminated with lead, arsenic, mercury and uranium.
I think an award should be given to the woman running the process at keeping a straight face after nearly three hours of lies and misinformation about fluoridation.
There were some submitters, particularly the Canterbury DHB, who were for the bill, and they made some sensible points - one of which was that the Director-General should take advice from the Director of Public Health, in case the Director-General is not a health person - as has been in the past, where the role was held by an accountant.
For the record, fluoridation is well studied, and recommended by the WHO. Our Ministry of Health recommends fluoridation.
At present, only about half of NZ’s population is covered by fluoridated water supply. The benefits of fluoridated water are fairly major in the avoidance of dental cavities, and very cost effective - many people avoid dental treatment because of cost. Fluoridating water is a cost-effective means to reduce cavities.
I hope that sense prevails and the misinformation from fluoride cranks is ignored.