Fluoridation court ruling in New Zealand

Fluoridation is a reasonable activity for the common good. It is not medication, says a new ruling.

Fluoridation a local government issue: court.

The High Court has affirmed the right of local government to fluoridate drinking water.

In a decision released today, Justice Rodney Hansen threw out claims from anti-fluoride campaigners who disputed the South Taranaki District Council’s decision add fluoride to drinking water in Waverley and Patea.

The campaign group, New Health New Zealand, applied to review the council’s decision.

The court rejected the application on all grounds.

Justice Hansen quoted a decision from a case in the Illinois Supreme Court: “Fluoridation programmes, even if considered to be medication in the true sense of the word, are so necessarily and reasonably related to the common good that the rights of the individual must give way.”

He drew analogies between fluoridation and the use of chlorine, which is an accepted public health treatment of drinking water.

David Sloan, Chairman of New Health New Zealand Inc, said in a statement that New Health “respectfully disagrees” with the High Court’s decision and will appeal.

Opponents say that fluoridation is a medical treatment and should not be imposed on citizens since there are problems with dosage and individual needs as well as consent. However, this process is widespread and demonstrable SAFE and EFFECTIVE. Yes there are issues but the comparison to chlorine and iodine addition makes some sense. You can always buy bottled water without fluoride. Many people have chosen that route for various reasons. Is this controversy settled? Nope. Not by any means. It’s not a simple one.

Anti-fluoride campaigns persuade with pseudoscience | Doubtful News.

Anatomy of a propaganda press release: Fluoride and IQ (UPDATED) | Doubtful News.

Portland votes ‘No’ to fluoridation | Doubtful News.

  3 comments for “Fluoridation court ruling in New Zealand

  1. Cameron
    March 7, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    While the pseudoscientific babble from anti-fluoridation activists is patently wrong that doesn’t mean fluoridation is a good idea anymore. There is plenty of evidence that indicates that people who use fluoride toothpaste every day absorb sufficient amounts of fluoride to mimic the health benefits of municipal water fluoridation. With municipalities being cash strapped and fluoride toothpastes being very abundant and pretty inexpensive it might be time for water fluoridation to stop.

    • March 7, 2014 at 1:01 PM

      Well, the main problem is that children often DON’T brush with fluoride toothpaste or take care of their teeth at all. Thus the need for fluoridation.

      • March 9, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        Indeed, as a resident of a NZ city which recently succumbed to anti-fluoridation rhetoric and halted the addition of fluoride this ruling is very welcome.

        With regard to benefit, toothpaste is good but as a recent NZ oral health survey found
        “The 2009 New Zealand Oral Health Survey found that only 65 per cent of New Zealand adults and 15 per cent of preschoolers brush their teeth twice a day with regular strength fluoride toothpaste.”

        Those at most risk of tooth decay, children and those in lower socio-economic brackets will benefit most:
        “Putting it in the public water supply means everyone gets the benefit, not just those who can afford it.
        Children and those most at risk of tooth decay will benefit most.
        People who struggle to afford or practice regular dental care (regular dental check ups, using quality toothpaste, cleaning teeth twice a day) will also benefit by having fluoride protection in their drinking water.”

        As far as cost, for a modest sized city such as mine (~120,000) the cost is ~$50,000/annum. Hardly a bank breaking exercise. Less than the cost of a tube of toothpaste each.

        Quotes from page:
        http://www.waikatodhb.govt.nz/public-health-advice/a-z-of-public-health-topics/d-f/fluoride/

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