FLUORIDE ACTION NETWORK NZ - Speaking Tour, Funds, Jobs and more

1. Paul Connett Speaking Tour of NZ
Firstly, thanks to everyone who is helping to get this organised. And especially the people who have offered accommodation for Paul, assistance with airfares around the country and for taking on the responsibility to organise in their area. Obviously, this wouldn’t be possible if there weren’t people around the country working at this.

See here http://www.fannz.org.nz/paulconnett.php for the latest details of where Paul will be speaking at public meetings. Paul is also booked in to present to the Hamilton City Council, the Hastings District Council and the New Plymouth District Council.

Ministry of Health have been contacted to see if they will meet with him but they have yet to decide.

The Green party have refused, and the “green” mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown, has not replied to my request for Paul to present to the Wellington City Council even though they have a meeting the very week Paul is in Wellington. The Greens have been made aware of the fact that the Manufacturers’ Safety Data Sheets (see http://www.fannz.org.nz/fluoridationagentsbyarea.php) says unequivocally that the fluoride used in our water is a hazardous waste, is an eco-toxin and should not be allowed into water-ways. Russell Norman has also been sent papers on fluoride’s damage to the environment and this 5 minute interview with Brent Foster an environmental attorney http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvExFr5J9BI.

2. Funds Needed
For these meetings to be a success we need to advertise. Therefore, donations are urgently required. (Thanks for donations already received) Please make payment (no matter how small!) to Fluoride Action Network (NZ) Kiwibank 38-9001-0273781-00 or post payment to P O Box 9804, Marion Square, Wellington. We also need volunteers for delivering flyers and computer work.

This speaking tour is likely to be one of the defining events in the path for New Zealand becoming fluoride-free. It’s crucial that we make the most of it.

3. Regional Public Health Employ Fluoridation Coordinator
In contrast Wellington’s Regional Public Health has no worries about accessing tax payer’s money for promoting fluoridation. Last month they advertised for a permanent position for a fluoridation coordinator. The advertisement says:

The National Coordinator will provide leadership and direction to the National Water Fluoridation Support and Coordination Service.

This is a new initiative based at Regional Public Health in Lower Hutt. The Service will support local councils and DHBs with factually accurate information about water fluoridation and its benefits. The service is being delivered through a consortium of organisations and a key role of the Coordinator will be to ensure good relationships and effective communication with a wide range of stakeholders. Knowledge and experience in health promotion and oral health are desirable to assist in ensuring efficient, effective and user-focussed service delivery.

There is a team being set up to promote fluoridation through-out New Zealand. The coordinator will be paid between $68,000 and $82,000 per year. The cost to run the whole service must be hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and shows that they are getting very, very serious about making sure fluoridation stays in New Zealand.

Notice they say “factually accurate information about water fluoridation and its benefits.” They must realise that “factually accurate information” and “its benefits” are two different things.

Interestingly, the contact person for this job was Roland Sapsford, co-convenor for the Green Party.

4. AGM
FANNZ AGM is to be held in Hamilton this year coinciding with the end of Paul Connett’s Speaking Tour. FANNZ members will be Hamilton for the last public meeting on the Saturday and the AGM will be held the next day (after Paul has left). It would be great to have lots of people from around the country attend and share their experiences with others and have some fun.

5. Oral Health Survey
At the end of last year the Ministry of Health published a report Our Oral Health – Key Findings of the 2009 New Zealand Oral Health Survey. Since then we have had dentists from Canterbury DHB and Northland DHB issue press releases claiming the survey showed that fluoridation reduced dental decay. There are four pages in Chapter 2, five and a half pages in Chapter 6 and four tables that are dedicated to fluoridation.

In Chapter 2 it quotes the Public Health Commission of 1994 and uses figures from there to make huge claims about reductions in the number of fillings. However, the, only graph they show, from the New Zealand School Dental Clinics for 5 year olds from 2003 – 2009, show that in 2009 the difference was only 0.3 of a decayed, missing or filled tooth. 0.3 !! This really is a Case of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Then they quote are the 2004 Wellington-Canterbury study which they claim showed a whole 1 decayed, missing or filled tooth surface difference. Note, there are over 100 tooth surfaces in a child’s mouth. There’s also the glaringly obvious problem of Wellington having the best dental health in the country so would be better anywhere it was compared to. For more information on the complete inadequacies of this study see http://www.fannz.org.nz/lee_study.php.

Next, they quote three NZ studies since 2004

“Similarly, studies found that 9 -10 year olds continuously exposed to fluoridation had half the dental caries experience of those who had not in Auckland (Kanagaratnam et el 2009) and Southland (MacKay and Thomson 2005). Another Auckland study of 9-year-olds similarly found lower levels of dental caries in children in fluoridated areas than non-fluoridated areas (Schulter et al 2008).”

The first important thing to note is that the two Auckland studies are looking at the same data but published in different journals.

Then compare: the Southland study page 39 states

“There were no significant differences in deciduous caries prevalence or severity (or in permanent caries prevalence) by sociodemographic characteristics or length of residence in fluoridated areas.” They then say “However, the multivariate model (Table V1) showed that those who had lived all of their lives in fluoridated communities had half the DMFS scores, on average, of those who had never resided in those communities.”

The first problem with their claim to Table VI is that Table VI doesn’t give a comparison between children who have lived all of their lives in fluoridated communities with those who had never resided in those communities. It shows the difference between those who had lived all of their lives in fluoridated communities with those who had intermittent residence in a fluoridated community. And for these two sets it appears to compare 0.5 of a decayed, missing or filled tooth surface with 1 decayed, missing or filled tooth surface. Which is “half as many” but considering it appears to be half of just about nothing, it is meaningless that it is “half”.

The Auckland study by Schulter, states on page 149

“While mean dmfs scores were lower in fluoridated than in non-fluoridated areas, no statistically significant difference was observed (due to the higher variability associated with this measure). Permanent dentition caries was observed in 95 children… There were no significant differences between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas in caries prevalence or severity.”

The table 4 on the same page shows the differences as 0.58 surfaces in deciduous (baby) teeth and 0.08 surfaces in permanent teeth. Remember there are over 100 tooth surfaces in a child’s mouth.

So what are the authors of this section of the report relying on? People’s ignorance and main stream media’s willingness to never question what these people say. This, of course, is a big part of why people remain ignorant.

The Auckland studies and the Southland study all show that there is a doubling of dental fluorosis, around 30% in fluoridated areas and 15% in non-fluoridated areas. Honest reporting on these studies would say there no significant difference in decay rates but a significant difference in dental fluorosis.

Chapter 6 is based on the 2008 data collected by Environmental Science and Research (ESR). At this stage we don’t know how many people were involved in this analysis, or how the data was collected. The authors make the note that since the data was taken as a snap shot of time it only accounted for where a person was living at the time of the survey and not where they have lived throughout their lifetime. Particularly for adults, this much makes the exercise pretty much useless since half of New Zealander is not fluoridated and we are a reasonably mobile population. Anyhow, their conclusions were that it reduced decay rates by 1 whole tooth for children and by 0.7 for adults. There is no reason why this data, rather than the school dental clinic data would be more reliable for children since the school dental clinics cover just about every child.

In chapter 6 the authors also report on the number of times children and adults brush their teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, but they make no mention of how this impacts on decay rates.

6. Study showing fluoride doesn’t even work topically
New study that shows that fluoride may not even work when applied topically. See http://www.infonews.co.nz/news.cfm?id=63364.

7. Lots of action in North America – 2011 at a Glance
If you don’t get the FAN bulletins from the U.S. then have a quick read of this http://www.fannz.org.nz/2011ataglance.php to see what’s been happening in North America just since the beginning of the year.

8. New documentary on fluoridation
A group of Australians have just released this documentary which is free to view on Youtube Use this link to get to it and see an overview of what it contains


Well done Aussies, another avenue and perspective for getting the information out there.

Mary Byrne

spokesperson Fluoride Action Network