2 Oct 2011

NZ - To add or not to add

Helen Harvey
Anti fluoride group FAANZ held a small rally out side the New Plymouth District Council before submissions were heard at a council meeting. Kristy Gray, left, & Danielle Diamond.
To add fluoride to the water or not to add fluoride to the water - that is the question the New Plymouth District Council is grappling with.

For the past two days councillors have been listening to more than 50 submitters give their views of the pros and cons of putting fluoride in the water.

It is not a new debate - discussion about the pros and cons of fluoride have been going on since fluoride was first added to the water in New Zealand in the 1950s - but it is an emotive debate. Both sides believe the science and statistics they are quoting are correct and both accuse the other of putting out misinformation.

The New Plymouth District Council received more than 400 submissions, the overwhelming majority of which were against fluoridation. The council needs to decide whether the whole district gets fluoride - Inglewood, Okato and Oakura don't have fluoride - fluoride is removed from the water supply altogether or the status quo remains. The council meets to debate the issue on October 13 and a decision may be made then.

The first fluoridated water scheme started in the United States in 1945. The first place in New Zealand to have fluoride in the water was Hastings in 1954. It was added to water supplies all over the country in the 1960s and now Christchurch is the only main city without it. It came to New Plymouth in 1970.......

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