30th May 2018


Dear Prime Minister Ardern,


We were really pleased for Professor Connett to have the opportunity to present the latest research on fluoride to the MPs in February. Unfortunately only three MPs attended: Duncan Webb, Angie Warren-Clark and Clayton Mitchell. While we do appreciate that MPs have huge demands on their time, we are disappointed that this information was not heard by more MPs. We were especially disappointed that David Clark said he would not attend. It is hard to believe we are being listened to when the Health Minister refuses to attend a presentation about such an important health issue that affects millions of people in this country.


The focus of Prof Connett’s presentation was the Bashash study – a landmark multi-million dollar US Government funded study that was published in Environmental Health Perspectives last September. This study was carried out by researchers from Toronto, McGill, Indiana and Michigan Universities, the Harvard Public School of Medicine and the Mexican Insitute of Public Health. The researchers have published over 50 studies on other similar toxic substances.


It found that children exposed in utero, to mothers exposed to the same level of fluoride as pregnant New Zealand women, had a significant lowering of IQ. This study looked at the fluoride in the urine of the pregnant women.


The level of fluoride in urine gives total exposure. This is totally different to the level of fluoride in water as everyone has a different dose of fluoride depending on how much water they drink, tooth brushing, other fluoridated dental products, tea consumption, medications and certain foods.  Even so, the level of fluoride in the water of these Mexican women ranged from 0.15 to 1.38ppm. In New Zealand, water is fluoridated to a range of 0.7 – 1ppm with a target of 0.85ppm.


There are no published studies that can refute the findings of this Bashash study.


Therefore, we find it extremely worrying that fluoridation is continuing when such a serious risk has been identified by these esteemed organisations.  We therefore have asked Health Minister Clark, if a study carried out by top US Researchers, published in a US Government peer reviewed journal, has found fluoride at the same levels we are exposed to, is associated with a reduction in the IQ of children, does not invoke the Precautionary Principle – then what will?


Minister Clark has replied to us citing that the Ministry of Health and various other organisations support fluoridation. He also says that if a large, well conducted study was published he would consider a review of the fluoridation policy. We have replied to Minister Clark that the Bashash study is a large, well conducted study. In fact, it is larger than the Needleham study which was the catalyst for removing lead from paint and petrol, so it therefore meets his standards for a review of the fluoridation policy. It was also the policy of Labour when it was in Opposition and Grant Robertson was the spokesperson for Health (2011).


We believe Minister Clark is caught in a situation where he feels he needs to follow the advice of his advisors. His advisors are similarly caught in a situation where they have to follow policy. This policy is now over 60 years old and is in desperate need of a truly independent review.


Emails between Prof Skegg and Gluckman expose the 2014 New Zealand Report as a hastily written rebuttal of the harms of fluoridation with a predetermined outcome.


On 5 April 2014 Prof Skegg wrote to Prof Gluckman:

“As you will see below, however, [withheld] is questioning the feasibility of our approach.  As you know, I have always had concerns that – whereas the benefits of fluoridation can be summarised succinctly – the literature on potential risks is vast and quite complex.  I can understand why any reputable scientist would be reluctant to put their name to a report if they have not had time to take a first-hand look at the evidence… Do you envisage that we could present our report as a synthesis of reviews by reputable evidence-based groups in other countries…” (Note that this refers to politically biased profluoridation organisations such the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, as confirmed in another email, rather than the NRC Review, which represents the “state of the science” on fluoride toxicity as at 2006.)

On 10 April 2014 Prof Gluckman wrote to Prof Skegg:

 “The reality is that the bulk of these issues have been dealt with by major agencies/academies in recent years and of course a report produced in short order will rely heavily on those.”


Even withstanding the poor quality of the Fluoridation Report, there is now new research, of the highest quality, that needs your urgent attention. As Minister Clark has never been willing to meet with us and appears content to follow Ministry of Health policy regardless of new information, we would appreciate if we could meet with you to discuss this issue further.


Please advise

Kind regards

Mary Byrne

National Coordinator

Fluoride Free New Zealand