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    No. 7 · Safe Food Campaign Newsletter ·July/August 2000

    · Fluoride Update ·

    by Mary Byrne

    Annette King wants to fluoridate the whole country

    Annette King, Minister of Health, has written to all councils around New Zealand which do not fluoridate their water. She says:

      "In the interest of the ongoing good health of the people in the district, I ask that you seriously consider adjusting the level of fluoride in your reticulated drinking water to the levels recommended by the Ministry of Health. Fluoride is a natural element that is already present in all New Zealand waters. By adjusting the level of fluoride to meet the Ministry of Health guidelines, you can provide a lasting health benefit to the people of your area."

    It seems she is intent on pretending that the fluoride that is put into the water is a natural element, rather than telling the truth that sodium silicofluoride and hydrofluoro-silic acid are by-products of the fertiliser industry and contain trace amounts of lead, arsenic, cadmium, radium and uranium.


    Fluoride Tablets

    The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) has recently approved a new policy on the use of fluoride supplements in the form of lozenges or chewable tablets. The new CDA policy is a significant change from previous policies of the 1990's.

    "The use of fluoride supplements before the eruption of the first permanent tooth is generally not recommended. When, on an individual basis, the benefit of supplemental fluoride outweighs the risk of dental fluorosis, practitioners may elect to use these supplements at appropriate dosages on younger children. In doing so, the total daily fluoride intake from all sources should not exceed 0.05­0.07 mg F/kg body weight in order to minimize the risk of dental fluorosis."


    Fluoride better on teeth than in water?

    If fluoride supplements are not recommended before children have their first permanent teeth, then why should local bodies be adding it to public water supplies? The 1991 U.S. Public Health Services: "Review of Fluoride Benefits and Risks" estimates that a 20 kg child living in an artificially fluoridated area will be receiving between 0.9 and 3.6 mg per day. Using the Canadian Dental Association figures, the total daily fluoride intake for a 20 kg child should not exceed 1­1.4 mg per day. Therefore, most children are already getting too much. As Minister of Health, Annette King should be working towards reducing children's intake of fluoride, not increasing it.
    The latest (Nov '99) report to the New Zealand Ministry of Health states that "fluoride's effects are largely topical rather than systemic". This means that if there are any benefits from fluoride then it has to be applied to teeth not swallowed. John Featherstone, M.Sc., Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences and Department of Dental Public Health and Hygiene, University of California, San Francisco, has authored the Cover Story of the July 2000 Journal of the American Dental Association. Following in the footsteps of 16 other cited articles that he has either authored or co-authored, Featherstone reminds the reader (in this case the dues-paying members of the American Dental Association) that fluoride's preventive action is topical rather than systemic. So why, oh why, does Annette King want us to swallow the stuff?


    Hutt Phone Survey

    Roger Styles, Councillor in Lower Hutt, undertook a random phone survey of 250 people living in Lower Hutt. He found that 48% of people would like more information on fluoride, 16% were in favour and 34% were against. He also found that 81% of people agreed that potential harm to health outweighed perceived benefits to teeth. It seems the tide is turning against compulsory mass medication.


    New Plymouth and Auckland

    Joy Hodson of New Plymouth has started a petition against fluoridation in Taranaki. The New Plymouth city council has agreed to start a consultation process with the people there.

    The Auckland City council has also agreed to consult the people of Onehunga before switching them to Auckland's fluoridated supply.


    Action

    • Help is desperately needed in both Auckland & New Plymouth to deliver flyers, attend meetings etc.

      CONTACT:

      New Plymouth - Joy Hodson,
      Tel: (06) 759 9116

      Auckland - Bill Wilson
      Tel: (09) 410 5742

    • Write to Annette King, Minister of Health, Parliament, Wellington (no stamp required) to voice your opposition to having a toxic waste added to your water supply.

    • Write to your local council and newspapers. SF

    July 2000

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