Jess Berentson-Shaw begins by stating that she is finding out what makes life good for all children, not just some of them. Well considering fluoridation doesn’t work, and is not safe it is a straightforward decision to cease fluoridation once the actual facts of fluoridation are reviewed. We do agree that leaving the fluoridation decision to local councils to decide upon water fluoridation is crazy. The decision to ingest fluoride should be the right of the individual. As we will show, children are in fact disproportionately harmed by the fluoridation policy.
There were a number of rudimentary issues within the Gareth Morgan blog post that will be reviewed.
Jess says that “Fluoride occurs naturally in our ground water” and “it also occurs in black tea”. It is correct to say that throughout NZ fluoride is found to naturally occur in our ground water at between 0.1 – 0.3 parts per million (ppm) and that fluoride is also found in a number of other sources including black tea. However, just because a substance occurs naturally does not mean it is safe to consume. Arsenic can occur naturally in a water supply, it is still a poison. In parts of the world fluoride is removed from the drinking water. Besides, what is added to our water supply is unnatural and is a waste product of the phosphate fertiliser industry. 
In the phosphate fertiliser process two toxic gases (Hydrogen Fluoride and Silicon Tetra Fluoride) are given off. Due to the harm caused to the environment by these two gases, wet scrubber chimneys capture these two gases which result in Hydrofluorosilicic Acid being collected. The only refinement to the acid is the removal of excess Silica. This acid is then added to the public’s shared water supply in 23 of the 67 Councils in NZ. 
There have also been cases that tea contains too much fluoride. Recently China has ceased the importation of tea from Kenya due to the high fluoride levels.
Jess argues that “At slightly higher levels (than 0.1 – 0.3ppm), fluoride in water prevents tooth decay”. In fact the largest study on dental decay and fluoridation in the US  shows that there is no benefit in reducing tooth decay. The York Review could find no reliable study showing any benefit from fluoridation.  It was obliged by its terms of reference to then consider moderately reliable studies. Even these showed only the 0.6 DMFS (15%) supposed improvement – but that is based on “moderately” reliable studies. In fact the range of studies went from a slight decrease through to a slight increase in tooth decay from fluoridation. Due to the continued misrepresentation of the study’s conclusion, the York Review chair, Trevor Sheldon, had to take the action of releasing this letter clarifying the results. 
The NZ references that Jess cites are from the 2009 Oral Health survey and contain a number of limitations. Read our critique here. The main issues being that the sample sizes are too small. The study was in fact a snapshot in time and the achieved tooth decay reduction percent of 40% is actually less than one tooth and even then it is not statistically significant. In fact the authors stated the survey was not a fluoridation study on three separate occasions throughout the report. 
In terms of how fluoridated water is supposed to work; in 2013 Dr Robin Whyman, consultant to the Ministry of Health, explained to councillors and the public in Hamilton that the primary benefit from fluoride is topical rather than systemic. In other words, it needs to be in contact with the tooth surface rather than ingested. He said fluoridation worked by providing a topical benefit because when fluoridated water was swallowed half the fluoride would be stored in the bones and soft tissue and during the day the fluoride would be released back into the blood stream which would raise the fluoride levels in the saliva providing a topical benefit.
However, fluoride released from saliva is only 0.016ppm when the person is consuming fluoridated water. This very low level is not enough to confer any topical benefit. If it were why would fluoridated toothpaste be 1000ppm? The Ministry of Health advises that children use adult strength toothpaste at 1000ppm rather than child strength at 400ppm because they say child strength is not strong enough. It therefore is a nonsense that 0.016ppm, which is 62,500 times less than 1000ppm, can provide a topical benefit. Likewise the amount of fluoride is too small if the MOH are referring to the water that could potentially have topical contact with the teeth while swallowing. (Taking the average water fluoridation amount of 0.85ppm which is 1,176 times less than what is advised to brush our teeth with by the MOH).
Considering this is the theory that fluoridation rests on today, it should be obvious to anyone that the argument for swallowing fluoride is preposterous.
Jess continues her argument “About half of our population lives in areas with fluoridated water”. Despite the pressure from the MoH, DHBs and the New Zealand Dental Association, only 23 of the 67 councils in New Zealand fluoridate their drinking water. NZ fluoridated community water supplies are currently fluoridated between 0.7 and 1ppm. This is above the recent US Human and Health Services recommended single target of 0.7ppm regardless of climate.  The towns and cities that are fluoridated in NZ can be found here.
What is most alarming is that the Jess believes that fluorosis is of no major consequence “cosmetic mottling of the teeth enamel is the one side effect that is observed in a small number of people” The concern around dental fluorosis was the specific reason to reduce the targeted amount of fluoridation chemicals added to the water. The US HHS says that fluoride levels need to be reduced as record numbers of children are developing some form of dental fluorosis. 40% of US children are afflicted. New Zealand has similar rates with the Ministry of Health’s 2009 Oral Health Survey also finding 40% in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. New Zealand studies that looked specifically at dental health and fluoridation found around 15% in non-fluoridated areas and 30% in fluoridated areas, a clear sign that fluoridation itself is causing 15% of children in fluoridated areas to develop some form of dental fluorosis. According to all scientific research dental fluorosis is caused by a child ingesting too much fluoride while the teeth are developing.
Aside from dental fluorosis, Fluoride has been linked to a multitude of adverse health effects including brain and thyroid development interferences.
Two studies have been published this year which looked at data from fluoridated communities. The first is a large study conducted by researchers at the University of Kent who found that fluoridation increased rates of under active thyroid in women by 60%. This study looked at 98% of UK GP practices; meaning that just about the entire UK population was included. Only 10% of the UK population receives fluoridated water. 
The second study was conducted in the US which showed ADHD rates increased as fluoridated communities increased.  According to the US Fluoride Action Network “43 of the 50 human studies have found that elevated fluoride exposure is associated with reduced IQ, while 32 of the 34 animal studies found that fluoride exposure impairs the learning and/or memory capacity of animals. The human studies, which are based on IQ examinations of over 11,000 children, provide compelling evidence that fluoride exposure during the early years of life can damage a child’s developing brain”.
Fluoride Free New Zealand agrees with Jess that “Rotten teeth are mainly a poor kid’s problem, which has a cost-effective solution” and that “The children that need help most are the ones missing out.”
Tooth decay is not related to fluoride deficiency and is not helped in any way by the ingestion of fluoride. By promoting fluoridation Jess is presenting a false sense of security when we should be spending time and energy on actual targeted solutions as opposed to an old theory that has been proven to be wrong. Champion of the poor, John Minto, always felt he needed to support fluoridation until he reviewed the information. Read his 2014 article here: The science is not “settled” on the benefits of fluoridation of water supplies. 
Fluoride Free New Zealand believes the answer is a public health campaign such as the Scottish Childsmile programme.
“An innovative dental health programme is dramatically improving children’s dental health and saving nearly £5 million a year in treatment costs avoided, Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said today.
Childsmile offers every child attending nursery in Scotland free daily supervised tooth brushing. In the most deprived areas, this extends into primary schools.
Children are also offered free toothbrushes and toothpaste and two fluoride varnish applications per year. Parents and adult carers are given dietary advice for children in their care to help prevent and mitigate tooth decay.” 
This not only saves children’s teeth it also teaches them good habits they will have for a lifetime. “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, give a man a fishing rod and he eats for a lifetime”. “Give a child a pill and they are better for a day, give the child the skills and they are better for a lifetime”.
 The water NZ Good Practic Guide confirms HFA “co product” from manufacture of phosphate fertilisers. http://www.waternz.org.nz/Folder?Action=View%20File&Folder_id=315&File=140604_nzwwa_f_gpg_revision_final.pdf Point 1.5.1 on page 1.
 Orica Chem Net supplies the Hydrofluorosilicic Acid to a majority of Councils in New Zealand. http://orica.co.nz/files/Fluoride/HFA_safety_data_sheet_shess-en-cds-020-000000015539.pdf
 Brunelle and Carlos 1990
 McDonagh M, Whiting P, Bradley M, Cooper J, Sutton A, Chestnutt I, et al. A systematic review of public water fluoridation. York: NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, 2000
 Trevor Sheldon York Review Letter http://fluoridefree.org.nz/york-review-2000/
 Read Fluoride Free NZ’s critique of the 2009 Oral Health Survey. http://fluoridefree.org.nz/new-zealand-information/our-oral-health-moh-publication/
 US Human and Health Services Press Release http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2015pres/04/20150427a.html
 Peckham S, et al. Are fluoride levels in drinking water associated with hypothyroidism prevalence in England? A large observational study of GP practice data and fluoride levels in drinking water. J Epidemiol Community Health 2015
 Malin & Till. Exposure to fluoridated water and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prevalence among childrenand adolescents in the United States: an ecological association. Journal of Environmental Health 2015
 Childsmile programme http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Children-s-dental-health-improving-19b6.aspx