Christchurch mayoral candidates say science & economics does not support water fluoridation

Stuff.com | 22 Sept 2016

At The Press’ mayoral debate on Tuesday, John Minto, right, said there’s concern over the science regarding fluoride. Lianne Dalziel, left, said it’s too expensive.

A medical expert is concerned both of Christchurch’s main mayoral candidates oppose water fluoridation.

“The message is clear, the science is clear. The benefits are enormous,” Canterbury medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey said.

Both Lianne Dalziel and John Minto said they were against fluoridation of Christchurch’s water supply during The Press’ mayoral debate on Tuesday.

Minto said he believed there was evidence that fluoride caused more harm than good. Dalziel said it would cost too much.

READ MORE:
Christchurch mayoral candidates discuss policies
Christchurch’s cost share agreement to be debated publicly, Mayor says
The battle for Christchurch
* Mayoral candidates snub new rugby stadium project
* Mayor’s red zone residential development proposal feasible

Fluoride is used to treat people against the serious illness dental caries.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says the science is sound in favour of fluoridation.

STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says the science is sound in favour of fluoridation.

“It’s a debilitating disease that is easily fixed,” Humphrey said.

He said alternatives such as fluoridated toothpaste did not have the same benefits.

“It’s fluoride in the water that prevents dental caries the best, and it’s our poorest part of our community who suffer the most.

“I think that those candidates talking [on Tuesday] night could claim to represent the more vulnerable end of the spectrum.”

He said there were benefits that reached beyond the people directly affected by dental diseases.

“One of the things people don’t realise is how much dental caries, for example, ties up operating theatres.”

Christchurch has a shortage of operating theatres, particularly since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

A shortage of theatres means longer surgery waiting lists and increased costs for the Canterbury District Health Board.

“They tie up huge amounts of surgical resource that could otherwise be used to be treating other people who do not have preventable problems,” Humphrey said.

Dalziel said the Christchurch City Council opposed the Local Government New Zealand resolution to fluoridate town water supplies in 2015 because of the expense.

“I’m not opposed to fluoride – I had fluoride tablets as a kid. I just know that because of the nature of our water supply, the multiple points that require fluoridation makes it way more expensive than other areas.”

Minto said he had a change of heart on fluoridation.

“Absolutely five years ago I would have agreed wholeheartedly with [Humphrey] . . . but there’s a lot that’s happened for me since then.”

He said he had read a lot on the issue, and believed there was “a seriously arguable case” the fluoride might do more harm than good.

“It’s raised a whole lot of questions that I wasn’t aware of about the side effects of fluoride.

“I’ve got a science background. I’m not a conspiracy theorist.”

 – Stuff

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s