|(1) I don’t have a problem with fluoridation, (3) I believe it to be acceptable, given the knowledge we have, and (4) I would not oppose a referendum, but would rather debate the issue in Council.
Local Authorities are required to accept Ministry of Health research, information and standards for many aspects of decision making. Standards for drinking water are subject to continualreview and adjustment, often resulting in substantial infrastructure upgrading and related costsfor ratepayers. At my last Councillor Clinic at Awapuni Library one person raised the issue of water fluoridation with me, concerned at the lack of choice for residents opposed to this watertreatment. She felt the use of fluoridated toothpaste provided sufficient beneficial effect. She asked me to check how many people complained to PNCC in the last year. Two people have expressed concern to PNCC about fluoridation in the last year.
|I have not formed a definite position on this question although I have been aware of the concern over fluoridation for 5-7 years since Dr. Paul Connett’s visit. It is one of the questions which, if I ever have some spare time, I would like to consider and appraise the evidence for myself. I am well aware of the arguments of the value of fluoride used topically rather than ingested.
I wouldn’t take any definite steps to stop fluoridation straight away but I would call for a report, providing arguments and evidence from all sides of the debate, to inform councillors. What that report revealed would determine what I would do next concerning this matter.
I do not think it is reasonable to rely purely on the Ministry of Health advice regarding fluoridation although I do think their advice should be part of the information used to form a view. I certainly do not think the opinion of ratepayers should be disregarded.
I would probably support a consultative process coupled with a round-table dialogue involving proponents and opponents of fluoridation (quite possibly represented by the MoH and FAANZ but maybe others). Referenda are okay for simple issues where scientific evidence (if there is any) is not disputed but not for when there is such dispute – most members of the public are not trained to critically assess scientific evidence and so a referendum would not be of an adequately informed public.
|Not sure, supports consultation
|I must confess to not having expertise in this area as I am not a health professional, however, I am a citizen who is concerned for the health and well-being of our community. I would like to think that the information provided by the Ministry of Health would be part of the submissions that are presented for Council to make a decision on fluoride in the city’s water supply. I would expect other submissions from interested parties, including ratepayers, to allow for a free, frank and informed discussion to take place. It would be at this stage that I would listen to, and look at, all of the information available and make what I consider to be an informed decision in the best interest of all residents.
OTHER CANDIDATES 2010 ELECTION
|My first personal reaction is that large scale medication of a population with very little consent is not my cup of tea and I was against the folate introduction. However I am a pragmatist and know that this issue is bigger than local council level and would take a national swing in opinion at a personal and a political level, as well as a Ministry of Health level to affect change. While I understand the concerns regarding taking the Ministry of Health advice; they are employed by the people of NZ to provide good science based advice to those of us who are on Councils and in government without a science background. If we want them to relook at the issue then that is where the bulk of the lobbying needs to be directed.
I would not support a referendum on the issue as these are usually non-binding and therefore little more than expensive polls. They are easily dismissed because they are about opinion rather than science which brings us full circle back to the Ministry of Health. I think that Council can play a role in lobbying central government regarding reviewing these issues if enough of the constituents in our area are concerned; the same can be said for local MPs who also rely on the advice of Ministry officials when it comes to matters they are not versed or qualified in themselves.
My only other point is that, if I was elected, I would be bound by democracy to listen to the voices of the people that elected me. Lobbying is a vital part of democracy so I welcome a continued dialogue about this issue.
|This was one of the many questions I have received over the past few weeks at the meet the candidates meetings as well as today from your E-mail. There is a lot of conflicting views and data from both sides similar as to global warming unlike the later I have not as yet formed an personal opinion on the fluoridation issue. But I have said that I believe in BINDING REFERENDA without it being binding it is a waste of time. If voted in and the issue arises as a concern from the people of the city I would support a local referendum with a number of other concerns also raised.
|I am sure as a candidate the best reply is to say nothing and keep the people ignorant. I think you raise a matter which needs more visibility and media attention. Before you read this I am not a health professional and have no agenda’s except the concerns expressed in the comments below.
I am of Maori and Polish whakapapa and for that I sit within a group that is estimated to be around 116,000 people in New Zealand that have been diagnosed with diabetes. Approximately another 100,000 remain undiagnosed. And within this, the prevalence of diabetes in Maori and Pacific populations is around three times higher than other New Zealanders. What’s more, diabetes complications (renal failure and lower limb amputations) are disproportionately higher for Maori than one would expect based on prevalence rates.
Given these rates and the constant Government speak around the diabetes ‘epidemic’ it is alarming that this warning hasn’t surfaced in the news here. It’s a simple enough idea. Diabetics are frequently thirsty, and may therefore ingest large amounts of water. The harmful effects of fluoridated water can lead to further damage to the bones and to the kidneys.
I noted recently during question time in Parliament re What responsibility, if any, does the government accept for the continuing exposure of one in six New Zealanders to unsafe drinking-water?
The response given was that the Health Act, the Local Government Act, and the Building Act, the relevant territorial authority has overall responsibility to ensure that every dwelling house or building has a safe and adequate drinking-water supply. The Minister’s officials in the Ministry of Health administer the Health Act, and the Minister makes sure they take their responsibilities seriously.
As a candidate for the District Health Board and looking at the health statistics then maybe this should be reviewed. An urgent investigation of this issue. If fluoridated water could harm kidney patients the Ministry must do all that they can to warn kidney patients and their families of the potential harm.
There is some interesting reading material available for consumption (excuse the pun) Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards (2006) Health Effects of Ingested Fluoride (1993) Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride (1997)
|James Pettengill (Awapuni Ward)
|I’m sorry but at this stage I agree with fluoridation of our water supply, however this is based on what I have read to date and is largely a default position on an issue I’m not totally acquainted with. I will take the opportunity to explore the contrary arguments put forward on the links you have kindly provided. This is not an issue that I have spent a lot of time looking into yet, however it is obviously important and I will make an effort to do so.
|The debate over fluoridation in water supplies has been floating around now for years. One must be reminded that the addition of fluoride has always been democratic and added at the request of the community. Similarly it will be the community that ultimately decides if the dosing of fluoride should continue or cease. Personally I support the addition. There is worldwide documented evidence that where fluoride has been added to supplies there has been a significant improvement in dental health. The advantages of addition have far outweighed and adverse effects. Even today dental experts are advocating fluoride supplements when the product is not available through a water supply. I do believe that if there is a significant proportion of the community that are against the inclusion of fluoride in the water supply that Council should consult with the community to determine it’s ongoing future.