Infant formula fluoride warning


Bottle fed babies’ health is at risk if their formula is made up with fluoridated water, according to the latest report of the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks.

As a result, Fluoride Action Network New Zealand (FANNZ) is calling on all councils around the country to issue a warning to parents and caregivers not to use fluoridated tap water for making up infant formula.

The Hutt City Council decided to issue information about this health risk in 2007, following the announcement by the US Public Health Service and the American Dental Association in late 2006, and an approach by FANNZ. The move was strenuously opposed by the Hutt Valley DHB and the Ministry of Health.

“Those Councilors who voted to inform the public, and the Councilors in the Far North who chose not to have fluoridation, can hold their heads high now their action has been vindicated” says Mark Atkin of FANNZ.

The US warning was that fluoridated water above 0.7 mg/L posed a risk. In New Zealand the Ministry of Health recommends water to be fluoridated to 0.85 mg/L, but because water engineers are not able to maintain an exact level throughout the whole day, they work within a range of 0.7 to 1 mg/L. The EU warning identified that above 0.8 mg/L “moderate” dental fluorosis was likely.

“‘Moderate’ dental fluorosis is a sign of major fluoride toxicity; not just ‘a cosmetic’ problem as fluoride promoters misleadingly say” explains Mr Atkin. “Given this, and applying the standard minimum safety margin of 10, the maximum allowable level of fluoride in water used for infants should be less than 0.1 mg/L. This is the natural level of fluoride in most NZ water supplies, before fluoride chemicals are added. The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence is clear it is time to stop putting this toxic chemical in the water” he says.

“The Ministry of Health, and the NZ Dental Association, seem to be alone in the world in still thinking that risking babies’ health by giving them fluoridated tap water is okay” concludes Mr Atkin.

Mary Byrne