A United States campaigner against fluoridation has been
invited to make a submission to the New Zealand Dental
Journal for peer review.
Emeritus Prof Paul Connett, a chemistry professor who taught
at St Lawrence University in New York for 23 years, and
wrote, with two other retired professors, a book called
The Case Against Fluoride, made a presentation to
Dunedin city councillors during this week's council public
Prof Connett, who said he did not subscribe to
government-controlled mass medication or other conspiracy
theories and based his position on science, presented
arguments, facts and figures to back up his position that
fluoride does not work if you swallow it, that topical
application is much more effective and that 46 studies had
shown it reduced IQ levels.
It was the third time Prof Connett, also the director of the
Fluoride Action Network, had made a presentation along the
same lines to the council.
He argued using the public water supply to administer
medication was clumsy, and that with better education, the
topical application of fluoride would be a far better method
and get around the ethical dilemma of people being able to
choose whether to take fluoride. As previously, he questioned
why scientists, health bureaucrats and practitioners would
never debate with him face to face to defend their policies,
suggesting they were afraid to speak out against accepted
policies for fear of losing their jobs or credibility for
other health measures.
Public health physician Dr Marion Poore and dental public
health specialist Dr Tim McKay appeared next at the public
Dr McKay, who questioned Prof Connett's qualifications before
being forced to apologise by Cr Fliss Butcher, said fluoride
had been used safely and effectively for 50 years without any
evidence of it harming people and there was no debate to
''We're chasing unicorns here.''
Water fluoridation was supported by major health
organisations from the Royal Society of New Zealand to the
World Health Organisation as the best and most effective way
to treat people, particularly those most at risk.
''We believe WHO on so many other things; why not this
one?''A 2009 oral health survey in New Zealand showed the
oral health of people in areas with fluoridated supplies was
better in areas with non-fluoridated supplies and Dunedin's
own multidisciplinary study had not found any link between
fluoridation and adverse effects..
Dr McKay brought with him an invitation to Prof Connett from
Prof Murray Thomson, professor of dental epidemiology and
public health at the University of Otago and editor of the
New Zealand Dental Journal, to submit to the journal
for peer review an original piece of literature in support of
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said it was unfortunate councils had
to make decisions about issues like this, when they were not
epidemiological experts and were bound to follow the advice
of authorities with such knowledge.
The councillors decided to review the situation after the
peer review of Prof Connett's submission was received.