In 1965 I was living in Gisborne NZ and in November of that year got married. In the mid-1960s the Ministry of Health were promoting the addition of sodium fluoride to community water supplies to address the widespread disease of tooth decay. The dental and medical professions were enthusiastic promoters of the practise and no expense was spared in the campaign to get it into the water.
In 1966 my Wife and I moved from Gisborne to Te Puia Springs to manage a country store whilst the owners returned to England for a six month holiday. Our Gisborne G P prescribed fluoride tablets due to the TP Springs water being un-fluoridated and given my wife was pregnant and the belief of the experts at that time was that fluoridated water was an essential element in healthy teeth, especially for babies, we were happy to go with the plan.
We returned to Gisborne and in November 66 our son was born. We moved to Auckland in 1968 and our son caused us much anxiety and sleepless nights with ongoing stomach upsets and a general inability to thrive as he should. Being new parents it was difficult to pin down what we were doing wrong but it must have been something. Doctors had all sorts of theories and could only come up with the usual try this treatment and come back next week solution.
When his teeth started erupting the stomach problems and sleepless nights grew and his teeth were discoloured and the enamel was spongy and tended to flake off. By the time he was four all but four of his teeth had been extracted. We were given all sorts of reasons for his condition but no one related the issue to the prescribing of fluoride tablets to my wife during her pregnancy. Now of course fluoride tablet bottles carry the warning ‘DO NOT USE DURING PREGNANCY’ and ‘DO NOT USE IN CHILDREN UNDER THREE YEARS OF AGE’. So when did the science that justified fluoridation realise there was a problem and did it just relate to the tablets or was there other issues with it? Given what I now understand I strongly suspect the lifetime of issues my son has suffered was due to dental fluorosis.
We subsequently had two more sons who did not have fluoride for the greater part of their childhood but used fluoridated toothpaste and they had no problems with their teeth. Both my wife and I had dentures by the time we were in our late 20s. Again now query if that was associated with the fluoride tablets but will never know.
In 1981 we moved from un-fluoridated Huntly to Hamilton and in 1985 the City changed from using Sodium fluoride added to the water to Hydrofluorosilicic acid. About that time I started having various health issues like joint pains, flu type symptoms and fatigue. In 1991 we bought a Rest Home in an un-fluoridated part of Taranaki and between then and 1997 my health was good. In 1998 we moved back to Hamilton and within a short time my health slipped back to the point where I was feeling like death warmed up and life became a struggle. Over the next ten years I was racked with all sorts of health issues such as gall stones, swollen joints, muscle pain, to the point where I was walking around with difficulty and following light exercise would need an extended recovery period and copious quantities of Voltaren tablets. I went from competitive yacht racer to shore bound spectator over that period and that was debilitating to say the least. I ended up having a gall bladder operation a prostrate problem, angina, high blood pressure and a blocked artery that needed a stent. Life was become somewhat intolerable.
In 2006 Hamilton had a referendum on fluoridation and the conduct of the process concerned me greatly due to the overwhelming weighting of the outcome in favour of the pro-fluoride lobby. In 2011 I retired and decided to revisit the fluoride question by researching the claims being made by the pro-fluoride lobby in studies such as the Fort Collins report, the York report and on websites such as the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards. Far from being convinced that adding a toxic chemical to everyone’s drinking water, to treat a disease that not everyone has, is a great idea I found that many of the claims made were based mainly on confirming a pre-determined outcome rather than facts stemming from sound scientific research.
Virtually all the studies and reports from the 1940s onward had a recurrent theme which was the need for more research because of the lack of valid answers to the concerns being expressed about the safety and benefit of fluoridation. Having had a gall bladder operation and a stent and being diagnosed with relapsing polychondritis, I also about that time decided to stop drinking fluoridated water and change my diet. I had been taking deer velvet capsules for a couple of years which helped the arthritis type pains in my joints however, my hips were giving me strife and seriously impacting on my mobility leading to me having an MRI and a diagnoses of urgently needing a hip replacement.
Within 3 months of no longer ingesting tap water and eating ‘fush and chups’ and chocolate eggs etc. I noticed a number of changes. My blood pressure reduced and stabilised, relapsing polychondritis symptoms reduced (except when I visited a fluoridated area for 5 days and ingested food and water, ending up back on steroids) my nasal drip problem was reduced and I started sleeping better. Over the past 24 months my hip joint pain has gone and I have relinquished my mobility card. I still have some issues with shortness of breath; however given I smoked a packet of cigs a day for around 20 years I am not surprised my lungs are protesting a bit (I smoked my last cigarette on 5 November 2001).
I still don’t know why my general wellbeing has improved so much over the past couple of years and it may be something else apart from the above but I do know that adding a toxic, waste by-product of fertiliser manufacturing as a means of treating a disease caused mainly by poverty and ignorance is in my view creating more issues than it is solving and until the research that has been demanded but not done over the past 50 years is carried out I will continue to oppose Community Water Fluoridation.