Tribunal sought for water fluoridation

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 12:31 27/05/2014

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Wellington

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Anti-fluoride campaigners have called for a regional tribunal to question the practice in Wellington.

A contingent of submitters addressed the Greater Wellington Regional Council this morning during hearings on the council's draft annual plan, once again questioning the compulsory fluoridation of the region's drinking water.

The council supplies water which has been fluoridated to meet levels recommended by the Ministry of Health to improve dental health. The water goes to Wellington, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and Porirua.

However, submitters at Greater Wellington today called on the council to reconsider the practice, saying there was increasing evidence the levels in water were not enough to make a significant difference on dental health, as it was only residual fluoride in saliva that made a difference to oral health, and that was at such a diluted level it became insignificant.

Instead, people were absorbing fluoride at a level that failed to account for factors such as age, weight or individual tolerance, dentist Stan Litras argued.

"The toxic level is easily exceeded by children aged less than eight."

Lynn Jordan said the matter should be considered by a tribunal that properly considered the different arguments. A tribunal or special review was preferable to a referendum which would be costly to ratepayers.

Councillor Nigel Wilson said he supported the idea of a tribunal given the division of views on the topic.

"There is a significant divergence of views from that of the Ministry of Health, so I would completely support a tribunal to be set up ... As a a regional council we would be irresponsible not to be involved in initiating that."

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