Friday, 22 May 2009

REPLY to opinion article on water fluoridation

REPLY

By John Holmes, Medical Officer of Health, Otago/Southland

People on the Waitati, Warrington water supply, who have previously
used fluoride tablets as supplements, are advised that this is no
longer necessary. The community water supply contains fluoride at the
optimal level (0.7 – 1.0 mg/L) as does the water in urban Dunedin.

The "Public Information" provided by Fluoride Action Network Dunedin
"…that it is now no longer safe to mix infants formula with tap water
in your area. This is due to medication of the new water supply with
Silico-fluoride, a dangerous neurotoxin. Babies are at extreme risk of
fluoride poisoning when they are exposed to fluoridated tap water" is
misleading and untrue.

In 2008 the Advertising Standards Authority decided that a flyer
advertisement including similar claims, circulated by the Fluoride
Action Network NZ in the Waitati district, breached the Advertising
Code of Ethics. The Complaints Board said that claims in the
advertisement linking fluoride with cancer, clearly played on fear. In
the Complaints Board's view, the same applied to the stated
association of "fluoridated water with infant milk formula".  The
Complaints Board said the Advertiser was entitled to express a view,
but to do so in the manner before it played on fear, and as such
rendered the advertisement in breach of Rule 6 of the Code of Ethics:
"Advertisements should not exploit the superstitious, nor without
justifiable reason, play on fear."

(The full decision is available at
http://www.asa.co.nz/display.php?ascb_number=08280 )

Powdered infant formula available in New Zealand contains negligible
amounts of fluoride. The major source of fluoride in infant formula is
from the water used to reconstitute the powdered formula (provided it
is fluoridated water). There is no evidence that the fluoride derived
from water used to reconstitute the formula has any harmful effects in
areas where the fluoride concentration is no more than 1.0 mg/L (Food
and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Infants and Toddlers (Aged 0-2):
A background paper. Wellington: Ministry of Health. 2008).

[Note from 'Blueskin News' editors: Public Health South was invited to
reply to Olive McRae's article, the original of which can be read
here: http://blueskin-co-nz.blogspot.com/2009/05/opinion-fluoride.html
]

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