Fluoride-Free NZ, as the country's "leading advocate for science in the fluoridation debate," has formally accept Health Minister Andrew Little's 'offer' to publicly air the science on the issue, 'challenging those who wish to ignore that science,' as reported by Stuff last month.
National co-ordinator Mary Byrne applauded Little's initiative, "in light of years of claims that the science is settled; there is nothing to debate."
"We agree that there is far too much misinformation and disinformation spread about fluoridation, and far too many decision-makers ignoring the science and relying instead on their personal belief systems. It is indeed well past time the public got to hear the true science on this issue," she said.
"The value of this was well demonstrated in New Plymouth in 2011 and Hamilton in 2013, where the science was aired in tribunal-style hearings. Research being prepared for publication shows that tooth decay has continued to reduce in New Plymouth since (fluoridation) stopped, at the same rate as the still-fluoridated communities."
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
The strength of the science that had emerged since the Gluckman-Skegg report in 2014 was impressive, she said, the best studies on fluoride and neurotoxicity so far having been published since 2017.
"They show categorically that fluoride is a neurotoxin, and is toxic at what we consider today to be low doses," Byrne added.
"One of the Canadian studies was published in the prestigious JAMA Pediatrics. The editors of this journal released a podcast explaining their decision to publish the study, and said they were shocked at how robust the study was. They said the implications are that fluoride is like lead, and fluoridation is similarly providing a low, chronic dose that is not good for anyone, but particularly bad in-utero and during infancy.
"As the NZ Supreme Court has ruled that water fluoridation is compulsory medical treatment under section 11 of the NZ Bill of Rights Act, but did not come to a consensus as to whether it was a justified limitation of the right under a Section 5 analysis (contrary to reports), it is more essential than ever that the science be publicly aired.
"We take from your statement that you are also calling on the media to provide a platform for this debate so the public can hear both sides in a fair and equal manner. To be most useful to the public, we consider that such a 'debate' needs to be in the form of an enquiry rather than point-scoring via debating techniques. It needs to be transparent and public, and the government needs to take financial responsibility for ensuring all views can be heard."