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No new evidence since 2006 fluoridation referendum

A Hamilton City Council workshop on fluoridation today provided no new, robust evidence to support a change in policy, says Waikato District Health Board.

“Hamilton continues to have an AA rated drinking water supply which, with the addition of fluoride, provides an effective, practical and safe means for reducing and controlling the occurrence of tooth decay in communities,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr Felicity Dumble who attended the workshop.

The source of Hamilton’s water supply, the Waikato River, naturally carries between 0.2 and 0.3 ppm (parts per million) fluoride and this is topped up to 0.7 ppm which is at the lower end of the recommended concentration from the Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation.

Fluoridation is considered the most effective and efficient way to prevent dental decay in populations, particularly in children.

Hundreds of million of people have access to fluoridated drinking water including in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Fluoride is found in all water and soils and is the 13th most common element on earth. It protects teeth by strengthening enamel, reducing bacterial activity and fixing the early stages of tooth decay.

A 2006 referendum on fluoridation of Hamilton’s water supply garnered 70 percent support.

“Hamilton’s water supply is not only closely monitored but the DHB goes to some lengths to ensure it has the most up-to-date information and is aware of all scientific and technical information and advice on this issue,” Dr Dumble said.

Waikato DHB is one of the beneficiaries of a Ministry of Health-established national agency, the National Fluoridation Information Service (NFIS), that provides the latest information and advice to DHBs, councils and the Ministry of Health on fluoridation.

“The NFIS gives the public access to the most accurate and up-to-date data available but will also help us identify and address any gaps in information on this issue,” Dr Dumble said.

The address for the NFIS is www.nfis.org.nz

ENDS

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