Fluoride Free NZ’s presentation of the Franklin Ward Petition to Auckland Council Regional Strategy and Policy Committee meeting 7 April 2016
Video recording can be watched here.
Time From: 2m 23sec To: 12m 11sec
Thank you. I have handed in the petition and the signatures. I would also like 2 information sheets distributed please.
Good morning Committee members
Firstly, I would like to thank the Committee members, Auckland Council staff and Watercare for taking Fluoride Free NZ’s guidance from November and reducing the maximum fluoride concentration levels to the US maximum of 0.7ppm.
I would like to specifically thank the COO Mr Kimpton, the CEO of Watercare Mr Jaduram and Councillor Chris Darby for driving this common sense initiative through. It is a very large step in the right direction. You have my sincere thanks.
- The reduction to 0.7 will actually be a 20% decrease based on the actual 2014 average of 0.9ppm.
- Approximately 150 Tonne of acid annually will be spared from being added to the shared public water supply.
- There are operational and compliance cost savings for Watercare.
- Watercare have been quick to enact the change. I have the last four months of fluoride readings and they have steadily been trending towards 0.7.
- Several fluoridating Councils around New Zealand have followed your lead and have recently reduced their target.
There are however still issues at 0.7.
- The fluoride being added is still hazardous.
- Testing has not been done at 0.7 to determine whether it effects learning and memory i.e. IQ. In December 2015, the US National Toxicology Program Committee met to review a proposal to determine at what level fluoride causes learning and memory loss. At the meeting, was Dr Linda Birnbaum, who was on the panel of the US Health & Human Services, that reduced the maximum to 0.7. She said this about fluoride:
“We know nothing, as I said before, about differential susceptibility and vulnerability that occurs within the population”. This is from one of the top toxicologists in the world. I’d like to repeat Dr Birnbaum’s statement. “We know nothing, as I said before, about differential susceptibility and vulnerability that occurs within the population”. (Watch from 1h7m)
They do not know. If they don’t know then the Ministry of Health definitely does not. The National Toxicology Program are conducting a systematic review of the literature and completing their own studies to determine the level. This could be 0.3ppm which means your 0.7ppm is way to high. Results are due in 2018.
- Babies are receiving 175 times more fluoride with infant formula reconstituted with Auckland’s fluoridated tap water compared with breastfed babies. (Breast milk contains 0.004ppm)
- According to the Ministry of Health, 40% of New Zealand children have some form of dental fluorosis.
- A hypothyroid study from the UK showed a 60% increase in lowered thyroid function in woman at 0.7ppm.
- There is no individual monitoring for fluoride affects by Auckland Council, Watercare or Ministry of Health.
- Tooth decay is caused by excess sugar, a poor diet, a lack of dental hygiene, and a lack of access to dental care.
To the petition.
If you see the map of the water network that I have provided, you will see the Waikato line moves from the Waikato River north to the city. In 2010, Watercare took control of the Franklin Ward water network. Watercare took the initiative to extend the line through fluoridated Pukekohe out West to the five townships. These townships were at the time not fluoridated until being connected to the Waikato line in 2014. Now at best the resulting fluoridation has been an oversight by Watercare. I am happy to give them the benefit of the doubt. But at worst it was a deliberate move to reduce the costs for Watercare’s project. Less time to consult.
Either way, Fluoride Free NZ is requesting:
- Immediately ceasing adding fluoride chemicals to the water supply of Buckland, Patumahoe, Clarks Beach, Waiau Beach and Glenbrook Beach townships.
- Immediately advise residents that they have been ingesting fluoride chemicals
- Consult with residents in an open, transparent, and democratically accountable manner.
- Provide greater transparency and information to all Auckland Water consumers
I am having to write OIAs to get this information every month. I don’t see why I should have to do that.
Now you may have received guidance that what has happened is legal but morally you have allowed the initiation of fluoridation without consultation, without notification.
Please act on Fluoride Free NZ’s petition as you have acted to reduce the fluoride levels.
Chair (Councillor Wood): I’ll move that we have received the petition from Fluoride Free NZ and thank Mr Titchener for his attendance. I’m sorry but I’m not going to have a lot of questions on this because it’s not a matter we are debating today. I’ll take three questions and that will be it. Councillor Walker, Councillor Darby and Councillor Cashmore. That’s the three questions. Thank you.
Councillor Walker: My question is just around what alternatives you are advocating Kane. I guess that applies specifically to these areas that you are bringing to our attention and beyond that.
Kane Titchener: So in Scotland they have got what’s called the Childsmile program. Okay, so Scotland is not fluoridated and they actually have a dental program in schools, health eating, supervised tooth brushing, and education around that. Controlled dental programs. We know that, in particular Maori children who receive dental care have a much lower decay missing filled teeth rate and that is what we actually need to focus on. So there are examples of this actually happening in Onehunga. There’s a preschool called Te Papapa Preschool. And they have actually implemented this program. Not off the back of any investigation or guidance from the ADHB but the preschool manager has taken it upon herself to implement this. Healthy eating, sending junk food home (so it encourages parents not to send junk food to preschool), supervised tooth brushing and she is now going to expand that in April and get the parents involved. I believe that is the alternative of what we need to focus on.
Councillor Darby: Thanks Chair. Probably a question more of Mr Kimpton. If there has been fluoride added to a water supply without public consultation, and I don’t know whether that’s so. I’m just taking Mr Titchener’s word at it. I haven’t heard from Watercare on this. So what are the legal implications here? What powers does Watercare rely upon to add something to the water supply, without maybe consulting the communities that are affected? Are there any implications here? Is there something that we need to pursue, check up on?
COO Dean Kimpton: So, when we received the email from a Lisa Hansen yesterday, I suspect a few, I certainly did, went back to Watercare and asked them this very question. So I think the best thing for me to do is circulate their opinion which was prepared by Rob Fisher. But they believe that the, and they’ve got legal advice to this effect. They believe that what they’ve done is within their abilities to do so and within the law. But I’ll provide that opinion to you so that you can see it directly from them.
Chair: Thank you. Councillor Cashmore
Councillor Cashmore: Thank you Mr Chair. Further to what Mr Kimpton just said, I also with Andy Baker immediately contacted Watercare yesterday and this is Rob Fisher’s reply: “In short, water containing fluoride at levels less than the maximum acceptable value comes within the definition of drinking water. Watercare considers that it has met all it’s obligations with regards to the supply of drinking water to the Franklin community at a cost of $116m.” So what people have to understand is that the water quality in Pukekohe and the outer suburbs and the little beach side towns was not fit for purpose, as potable water. They bought in this system to solve that. And the high court decision defining drinking water which was from New Zealand Incorporated and South Taranaki. “The High Court in New Health NZ in South Taranaki determined that water containing fluoride at level less than the Maximum Acceptable Value will be potable water and come under the definition of drinking water.” So that is the legal position from Rob Fisher.
Councillor Darby: I have a follow up. Supplementary.
Chair: No, no. I’m sorry. We’re not debating this.
Councillor Darby: This is fundamental.
Councillor Lee: This is questions. This is questions Mr Chairman.
Chair: I’ve said already.
Councillor Lee: No but you can’t do that.
Chair: I’ve made the decision. So I’m going to put the motion.
Councillor Darby: Is it the intention of Watercare to fluoride the Onehunga supply then on the back of that legal opinion?
Chair: We’re not talking about that Councillor Darby. So I’m going to put the motion. Those in favour.
Chair: Declared that carried. Thank you Mr Titchener.
Kane Titchener: Are you going to notify the townships?
No further response.
On 8 April, Auckland Council COO, Dean Kimpton provided Watercare’s response. Watercare have confirmed their preliminary legal advice as requested and the appropriateness of their approach.
“At Thursday’s Regional Strategy and Policy Committee there were a few questions in arising from the petition submitted by Kane Titchener on fluoride in the Franklin water supply.”
From Watercare’s document:
“Given fluoride was naturally occurring in the groundwater sources, and given we communicated frequently with these communities throughout the project, we do not believe there was a need to specifically consult on fluoride ahead of undertaking our project. On the contrary, we stand by our decision to prioritise the delivery of a safe and reliable water supply to our rural communities. For these communities, water quality and supply issues have become history.”
Fluoride Free NZ Petition
To Auckland Council Regional Strategy and Policy Committee,
We the undersigned require the Council to, in relation to those residents in the Franklin Ward townships of Buckland, Patumahoe, Clarks Beach, Waiau Beach and Glenbrook Beach who receive reticulated water:
1. consult with those residents in an open, transparent and democratically accountable manner regarding the addition of fluorides to their water supply, as required under section 14 and Part 6 of the Local Government Act 2002; and
2. immediately cease adding fluorides to their water supply (this constituting medicating these residents without their consent) until such consultation has taken place.
We reject the illegal medication of these residents by a private water company, accepted by the Auckland Council on 3 March 2016, in breach of the consultation requirements of the Local Government Act.
Signed by Fluoride Free NZ