Health risk acknowledged


Kāpiti Coast District Council resolved on Thursday to lower the fluoride levels from 1.0 ppm to 0.7 ppm because of the risk to babies developing dental fluorosis. A Council report showed that at 1.0 ppm babies where exceeding the upper limit 90% of time. The Ministry of Health were recommending they go no lower than 0.8 ppm after councillors had requested a report about lowering the levels.

According to the last two studies in New Zealand, 30% of children in fluoridated areas have some form of dental fluorosis. This is the first outward sign of fluoride poisoning so cannot be taken lightly. If fluoride has damaged a child’s teeth, then what has it done to their bones.

Interestingly, Mayor Jenny Rowan voted against Councillor Peter Daniel’s motion to suspend fluoridation until it could be proven conclusively to be safe for all. However, she said that her grandchildren will not be given fluoridated water as her family was aware of the risks and had installed filters.

People can be given a toothbrush and toothpaste if they can’t afford it, but young families who are in rental accommodation can in no way afford to have filters installed. It is really unfair to expect people with babies to be sourcing other water when people can quite easily choose to brush their teeth.

Councillors resolved to provide information to parents about the risk of dental fluorosis if baby formula is made up with fluoridated tap water. Fluoride cannot be boiled out of the water, so parents concerned their child’s teeth could be affected by fluoride need to find another source of water or install an expensive filter to remove the fluoride.

To this end the councillors also resolved to consult with the community about making a tap available in both unfluoridated Paekākāariki and Ōtaki so that residents from Raumati, Paraparumu and Waikanae can go there to get unfluoridated water.

Hutt City Council issued this information in 2007, following the warning from the American Dental Association and US Public Health Service in late 2006.

The NZ Ministry of Health strongly opposes giving parents this important health information.

Hastings Council are also reducing fluoride levels to 0.7 ppm next week.

Mary Byrne