Council ups ante on fluoridation

Waikato District Council is considering expanding its water fluoridation to include Hopuhopu and Te Kauwhata water supplies.

The council's water and facilities committee yesterday supported funding for fluoridation in the 2012-2022 long-term plan.

Councillors also agreed to consult affected communities through the long-term plan process and instructed staff to prepare a fluoridation policy.

The capital cost of the two proposals is subject to a Health Ministry subsidy but operating costs are estimated at less than $5000.

More than 60 per cent of Waikato District households have fluoridated water.

Speaking in support of fluoridation, Dr Felicity Dumble, from the Waikato District Health Board, told councillors fluoridation was an effective way of managing tooth decay in communities.

Ngaruawahia and Huntly have fluoridated water, as does southern and western districts supplied by Hamilton City Council.

Water supplies in Raglan, Pokeno, Tuakau and Port Waikato are not fluoridated.

Dr Dumble said fluoridation was regarded as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of last century and benefited anyone with "natural teeth".

Millions drink fluoridated water, which was cost effective and safe, Dr Dumble said.

Fluoridation was one of the most intensely researched public health interventions, she said.

Raglan ward councillor Clint Baddeley said he was disappointed fluoride opponents were not invited to address councillors, adding the outcome could have implications for Raglan households.

"They still haven't forgiven council for putting chlorine in the water," he said.

In September, Waikato DHB member Ewan Wilson called for robust debate over the fluoridation of public water supplies.

The DHB supports fluoridating supplies based on information from national and international health authorities.

In July the Ruapehu District Council ceased fluoridating Taumarunui's water supply following a large number of submissions from the public representing both sides of the debate.

Waikato Times