Fluoride Free Cambridge, a group of highly concerned Waipā residents formed to oppose the Director General of Health’s unlawful mandate to fluoridate Cambridge’s shared public water supply.
Sam Hore, one of Fluoride Free Cambridge’s coordinators said that, “A petition is already circulating in the Waipa with hundreds of signatures already collected within days of its launch. The petition points out that residents do not want fluoride added to their drinking water, the Council’s duty is to the communities it serves, not central Gov ernment policy, that the Directive from the Director General of Health was unlawful and requesting that any further infrastructure work be put on hold, and that residents want urgent consultation as per the requirements under the 2002 Local Government Body Act.”
The group intends to present the petition to the Cambridge Community Board early in 2024.
Fluoride Free Cambridge is buoyed by furious comments made by deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk when Council was ordered to fluoridate in July 2022, she said, “We want meaningful consultation”.
Waipā’s water has never been fluoridated – nor debated by council. Sam Hore said, “Mandating a substance which the Supreme Court has ruled is a compulsory medication without consultation is unacceptable. A review of the MOH’s nationwide long term oral health records for 5 year old and year 8 children shows fluoridation hasn’t miraculously or even significantly improved oral health outcomes. So why persist with a program that doesn’t work, especially given the incredibly strong evidence of harm from levels that Cambridge’s water will be fluoridated at.”
An example of this harm is the top US Government agency on agents of concern, the National Toxicology Program’s recent findings that 52 of 55 human fluoride studies found lowered IQ, the average reduction being 7 IQ points. A study by Till et al. on bottle feeding babies found that infants exposed to formula reconstituted with fluoridated water had a 9 IQ point reduction. This level of risk to our children is unacceptable particularly when you learn there is no overall health benefit from fluoridation.
The 10 Year CATFISH (Cumbria Assessment of Teeth – a Fluoride Intervention Study for Health) fluoridation study from the University of Manchester published November 2022 found that fluoridation’s effects on tooth decay in children were “very modest” and “much smaller than previous studies have reported.” In the younger cohort, there was a modest 4% reduction in caries incidence. There was insufficient evidence as to whether water fluoridation prevents decay in older children with a difference of only 2.8%.
The 4% difference was not considered large enough to justify water fluoridation. “Other ways of preventing tooth decay may be better now that use of fluoride toothpaste is so common and levels of tooth decay are much lower than they were 40 years ago.” This is applicable to NZ as there is a legal requirement for there to be a justifiable cost-benefit ratio before implementing fluoridation.
The research also found that people from more deprived areas had more decay in both the fluoridated and non-fluoridated groups.
Coordinator Denise Renshaw says, “Fluoridation doesn’t ensure good oral hygiene habits, or prevent tooth decay. It is time to end the unsafe and ineffective practice of fluoridation and implement a New Zealand version of Scotland’s Childsmile Program. Childsmile involves tooth brushing education schemes in pre-schools and primary schools, ensuring children are seen by a dental therapist early, and children and parents get education about sugary foods and drinks. In non-fluoridated Scotland Childsmile has halved the number of general anaesthetic surgeries and greatly reduced the average number of dental fillings. Childsmile saves GBP 5 million per year in dental health costs for Scotland’s population of 5 million.
More detailed information on all of these issues is available at www.fluoridefree.org.nz.