National Fluoride Information Service Wednesday 26 September 2012, 3:08PM
Media release from National Fluoride Information
ROTORUA. 26 September 2012. Local bodies will continue
to be bombarded with pseudoscience by anti-fluoride campaigners, Dr
Stephen Palmer, Medical Officer of Health from the National
Fluoride Information Service told the Water New Zealand conference
in Rotorua today.
"In the absence of clear facts, pseudoscience works well - as
toxicology and epidemiology are so specialised. Yet, these
are the very tools that show that fluoridated water supplies are
effective in preventing tooth decay, especially for the most
disadvantaged sections of the population, and the lower doses used
these days are safe," Dr Palmer told the conference.
His presentation, entitled The Tale of Two Cities, showed how New
Plymouth and Lower Hutt responded to sustained and very active
campaigns to stop fluoridating their local water supplies.
He said the campaign in New Plymouth overwhelmed local councillors
who considered the issue during their 2011 Annual Planning process.
"Councillors were subjected to intense pressure from the
anti-fluoride lobby using a range of tactics. These included
sophisticated videos which were heavy on emotion and
conspiracy. Selective use of studies and research findings,
downplaying or ignoring evidence, emotion, and misrepresentation of
the truth all bamboozled councillors.
"The case put forward by the Taranaki DHB was overwhelmed by the
sheer number of submissions and emotion that resulted in a decision
to abandon the fluoridation of New Plymouth's water supply.
"On the other hand, when a similar campaign emerged in the Hutt
Valley a rational approach, expert evidence and strong support from
the local DHB meant the voice of reason was able to prevail.
In the Valley those residents wanting fluoride-free water can still
access the Buick Street water pump, but the reticulated water
supply remains fluoridated".
Dr Palmer produced statistics that showed the benefits of
fluoridation of water supplies, and warned the largely local body
representatives at the conference that the anti-fluoride campaign
will continue, populated with its beguiling - but erroneous
"Science is a rigorous process which endeavours to ensure that
results are correct and safe. Anti-fluoride campaigners'
messages are not founded on science or fact. They are an
excellent example of pseudoscience which might sound clever, but in
reality is based on fear, innuendo, convenient half-truths and
emotion," Dr Palmer told the conference.