Anti-fluoride bid fails

05:22, Oct 09 2014

A High Court Judge has thrown out an application by opponents of fluoride trying to force the Ministry of Health to treat it as a medicine and regulate the amount added to tap water.

Anti-fluoride group New Health New Zealand had claimed it was absurd that fluoride tablets were deemed a medicine under the act but fluoride added to tap water was not.

However, Justice David Collins ruled when Hydrofluorosilicic Acid (HFA) and Sodium Silico Fluoride (SSF) were added to domestic water supplies in New Zealand to produce fluoride concentrations within the current allowable level of 1.5 milligrams per litre they were not medicines within the meaning of the Act.

The application for declaring them as medicines was therefore dismissed, he said.

In March, New Health failed in another High Court case to stop South Taranaki District Council adding fluoride to the water supply in Patea and Waverley. 

Lisa Hansen, for New Health, told the court last week a bottle of 0.5mg fluoride tablets was deemed a medicine under the Act and two tablets, or 1mg, was the recommended adult dose, which equalled a concentration of one part per million (ppm) if put into a litre of water.

Public water supplies were allowed to have a concentration of 0.7 to 1ppm of fluoride added, which meant a litre contained the same fluoride dose as two 0.5mg tablets of fluoride, she said.

"I submit it is absurd 0.5mg is considered to be a medicine in pill form, but the same amount delivered through the water supply isn't."

Costs were not awarded because New Health had advanced legitimate arguments in the public interest. 

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