19 Jun 2013

New Zealand - Get both sides of fluoride debate

Get both sides of fluoride debate

 False teeth in a glass of water in front of the Mastertin Municipal Building for Fluoride story.
I have never had much time for the Fluoride Action Network. Give them a moment in the sun, such as when a reporter rings them as part of a story, and they can sound really exciting. Words like toxicity, hazardous and cancer are buzzy words that sound good in a story. "Scientific evidence" is another phrase that gets thrown around a lot.

I can recollect, when reporting for the Kapiti News, getting a fluoride missive about toxicity levels, but basic maths showed it had calculated the percentages wrong.

Normally, material from FAN gets the delete button or the bin, but all of a sudden, there it is on the front page of the Wairarapa Times-Age. And that's because I had to turn around and say to my reporters: yes, I know a few days ago I told you this stuff was scaremongering rubbish, but now it's news, so get going.

Since Hamilton cut fluoride from its supply, and Hastings is asking the question of its ratepayers, fluoride has become topical. And while I might make my feelings plain in an editorial, a paper's job is to report on circumstances and keep people informed. Masterton still has fluoride, therefore we have to make sure the question gets asked here. From this, the public is better informed towards making up its own mind.

Masterton received seven submissions to its draft plan asking for the removal of fluoride. Only two of these submissions were from Masterton residents. It is standard practice for FAN to place a submission to every council, and they ask their members, regardless of where they live, to do the same. Their website provides attachments and material to support a submission. Admittedly in Hamilton, there were 1385 submissions against fluoride, so there was clearly an engaged debate that went beyond rent-a-voice submissions.

Interest groups can be useful voices of democracy and freedom of speech and they will have done a lot of the research for you. But like the 1080 debate, their research is one-sided. And these groups do not shy away from exaggeration - or worse - to convince you their message is right. My advice is: seek information from both sides.

Shows how an editor has a huge input on what we read. Although his advice on seeking information from both sides is right.

Best comment left is this:
I know Andrew from reading what you have written that the actual research you have done on fluoridation is, well how can I put this, I will try to be nice. very sadly lacking. Have you for instance ever watched a YouTube documentary called, Interview with Dr John Colquhoun 1998. No you haven't because if you had you would have had a very different point of view! He was New Zealand's foremost foremost government fluoridation advocate back in the 80's and was responsible for the fluoridation of Auckland City. He was also given the task of seeing all of NZ fluoridated. Then he discovered that the science he had been following was seriously flawed. He did a 180 degree turn around and against the advice of his MOH bosses went public and as a consequence lost his job. He was a hero because he followed his conscience and amongst other things said that poisoning the children of New Zealand for no reason made no sense at all!

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