Landmark fluoride ruling

Last updated 13:41 07/03/2014

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The South Taranaki District Council has been given the green light to keep fluoridating Patea and Waverley's water supplies.

In what was seen as a landmark test case, anti-fluoride group New Health New Zealand had questioned the legal right of councils to add fluoride to drinking water.

They called for the courts to quash the council's decision through a judicial review.

But in the High Court decision released today, Justice Rodney Hansen rejected the challenge on all grounds.

New Health NZ had claimed fluoridation is mass medication against tooth decay, was being administered without informed consent, and that the council had failed to take into account relevant considerations.The judge dismissed these contentions.

''The power to fluoridate drinking water is not a regulatory function; it does not require express authority,'' Justice Hansen stated.

''Nor does a decision to fluoridate require the consent of the Minister of Health under the Medicines Act as water is not a food for the purpose of that Act.

''I see no material distinction between fluoridation and other established public health measures such as chlorination of water or the addition of iodine to salt.''New Health's application to review the Council's decision fails.''

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