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