1st May 2018

Dear Dr Clark

Thank you for your reply dated 19th of April in response to our letter dated 18th March. The questions we asked in that letter were:

    1. If a 12 year, US Government funded, multi-million-dollar study, carried out by a team of distinguished neurotoxicity researchers from Harvard, the University of Toronto, Michigan and McGill, who have written over 50 papers on similar studies of other environmental toxins like lead and mercury, has found that children exposed in utero, to mothers exposed to fluoridate at the same levels NZ women are exposed to, reduces IQ, does not make you invoke the Precautionary Principle and suspend fluoridation – then what will?
    2. Why continue with fluoridation when the benefits are dubious and there are other public health programmes being carried out in non-fluoridated countries and areas of New Zealand that are really effective, save money and are acceptable to everyone?

    Even though we asked for your thoughts on the above questions and stated we were not interested in the fact that some dental and health organisations support fluoridation you have sought to remind us of the 2014 Report by Professors Skegg and Gluckman and the Fluoridation Bill awaiting Second Reading.

    It is meaningless to cite this Report as it was completed three years before the study we are inquiring about. As well as that, you can see from the below correspondence between Prof Skegg and Prof Gluckman, that the Report was politically motivated, and the authors were not interested in finding out the scientific facts on fluoridation.

    “…the literature on potential risks is vast and quite complex.” 5 April 2014

    “We considered making fluoridation the subject of one of our Emerging Issues papers. This would have required us to appoint a panel of experts to review the extensive literature that has been pouring out. …I agree that the antifluoridation campaign is gathering momentum, and local authorities are in a difficult position. How would you like to proceed? The quickest response would be for you and me to issue a joint statement…Alternatively the RSNZ could appoint a panel…Would that create more uncertainty or would it give local councils much needed breathing space.”

    9 February 2014 FFNZ:

    As pointed out by Prof Skegg, there is a huge amount of scientific data on the health risks of fluoridation. To give responsible advice on fluoridation safety requires a detailed analysis, never “the quick response”.

    You say that the report recommended that a review of the scientific evidence be repeated or updated every ten years, or earlier if a large, well-designed study were published that appeared to have shifted the balance between health benefit and risk.

    The Bashash study is considered a “large” study in scientific circles. The Needleham study published in 1990 which was the turning point in the Lead debate, had only 138 subjects and another major Lead study published in 2003 had only 172.

    There is no arguing that the Bashash study was well designed. It was carried out by distinguished researchers from top North American institutions who have published over 50 papers on similar neurotoxic substances. It was published in the top environmental health journal in the world

    Therefore, can we take this to mean that you will be instigating a review of fluoridation? We ask that if that was to happen, that a balanced panel be appointed so we can ensure that the best outcome for everyone is achieved.

    And while a Review of Fluoridation by independent scientists, researchers and ethicists is sorely needed, we would still like answers to the questions above.


    Kind regards

    Mary Byrne

    On behalf of the team at Fluoride Free New Zealand