Let the fluoride flow - experts
A review of scientific evidence has found that New Zealand fluoridation levels create no health risks and provide protection against tooth decay.
The review was commissioned by Sir Peter Gluckman, the prime minister's chief science adviser, and Royal Society of New Zealand president Sir David Skegg at the request of the Auckland Council on behalf of several councils.
Scientific literature was evaluated by a panel of five experts, along with a lay observer with local body experience, Skegg said. The report was reviewed by three international experts and the director of the National Poisons Centre.
The panel paid particular attention to the major contentions about potential harm caused by fluoride - that it contributed to the risk of cancer, musculoskeletal and hormonal disorders - as well as to claims it had adverse effects on brain development, Skegg said.
"The panel concluded that the concerns raised by those opposed to fluoridation are not supported by the scientific evidence," he said. The report said the few studies that suggested a cancer link with community water fluoridation suffered from poor methodology and errors in analysis. The only side-effect of fluoridation was found to be mild dental fluorosis - a tooth enamel defect.
"The review finds compelling evidence that fluoridation of the water at the established and recommended levels produces broad and continuing benefits for the dental health of New Zealanders," Gluckman said. "The public can be reassured on the basis of robust scientific data that the implementation of this public health measure poses no risk of adverse health effects."