LEIGHTON KEITH – Taranaki Daily News
22 June 2010
Fluoride levels in New Plymouth water are safe, says the district council, despite a recent report throwing doubt on some New Zealand councils.
Fluoride opponents cited the European Commission figures which showed fluoridation levels in some districts were too high for bottle-fed babies.
The study showed infants’ milk formula should not be mixed with fluoridated water at a level above 0.8mg per litre.
Its report said over-exposure to fluoride could lead to mottled teeth but it could not substantiate claims it could lead to diseases including cancer.
New Plymouth District Council spokesman Brent Manning said water provided to consumers from Omata to Urenui, including Bell Block, Waitara and Tikorangi, was fluoridated to between 0.2 and a maximum of 0.7 milligrams per litre.
“We normally target a level below 0.8,” Mr Manning said.
New Zealand’s drinking water standards allow a maximum of 1.5mg per litre.
New Plymouth resident and anti-fluoride crusader Russell Gilmer said he had been campaigning to have fluoride removed from New Plymouth’s water since he was a councillor from 2001 to 2004.
Mr Gilmer has continued his mission.
“I notified the council and the Ministry of Health about the issue with baby formula about two years ago.
“It’s not new news here,” he said.
Mr Gilmer said he wanted to see the addition of fluoride to the water supply made an issue for the upcoming October local body elections.
The community will again get a say on the controversial issue in the council’s next term.
The public will be invited to make formal submissions for or against the continued fluoridation of New Plymouth’s water supply and hearings will be held so submissions can be made in person.
Mr Manning said the costs and benefits of fluoridation would be weighed up.
“It is an opportunity to say here are all of the facts and get some community engagement on the matter,” he said.
Health Ministry acting child dental officer Tim Mackay said baby formula made with fluoridated water in New Zealand was safe for infants’ consumption.