Yesterday the Hawke’s Bay DHB heard a presentation from its Principal Dental Officer (David Marshall), and strongly and unanimously reaffirmed its support for fluoridation of public water supplies. Not a peep of opposition was heard, as each Board member voiced his or her full support.

For the DHB, fluoridation is a no-brainer. Here’s their position …

“the Board has a responsibility to obtain the best possible health outcomes for the people of Hawke’s Bay and … where dental health is concerned the fluoridation of public water supplies is the single most beneficial measure available.” And …

HBDHB should advise Local Authorities that “they have a duty of care especially to children to improve dental health by fluoridating public water supplies as advised by the HBDHB and the Ministry of Health.” [Editor: italics added.]

DHB Chair Kevin Atkinson commented that the DHB didn’t have the authority under current law to itself make the decision to add fluoride. That authority lies with territorial bodies.

Nevertheless, it was clear that the DHB intends its decision to serve as a full broadside delivered to the Hastings District Council, which will receive a citizens’ petition at today’s (24 February) Council meeting asking that fluoridation be stopped. On 5 April, the HDC will hear presentations on the matter from anti-fluoride activists (including international expert Dr Paul Connett), as well as representatives of the DHB.

How strong a broadside was intended?

I think it’s noteworthy that the DHB resolution asserts that the Local Authorities have a “duty of care” to improve dental health through fluoridation. “Duty of care” is a common law term of art referring, according to one definition, to “the legal obligation to adhere to a standard of reasonable care when performing any act that could foreseeably cause harm to others.”

As I read it, the DHB has thrown down the gauntlet, implying to Hastings Councillors that they might be legally vulnerable if they choose to disregard the expertise of the public health authority and fail to act as advised to improve dental health by adding fluoride.

Hmmm! Would someone actually take HDC to court if they were deemed to have failed their “duty of care” obligation?

Interesting show of muscle might develop here.

On the other hand, local anti-fluoride activist Angela Hair argues here that it might be the DHB that fails to meet its “duty of care” responsibility.

Tom Belford

P.S. Local anti-fluoride activists maintain this website, if you’d care to investigate their point of view.

Join the Conversation


  1. Dear Councillors, Dear DHB Health Board,

    After just reading the latest 2 articles in the Hawke’s Bay Today and the Bay Buzz article on this issue, I feel that I have to once again express my sincere concerns about water fluoridation.

    I think that both the education and research in New Zealand is done very one sided on water fluoridation. There is extensive evidence and research around how damaging fluoride is to the general health long term. There is no water fluoridation in Europe, it’s even banned in one country there.

    According to the website of the Hastings Council the Hawke’s Bay population consists of approx. 150,000 people. The DHB mentions that 1,053 children had to be treated with anaesthetic dental treatment. This means 148,947 Hawke’s Bay citizens are being “treated” to a toxic chemical in their otherwise clean drinking water. To maybe improve the dental health of 1,053 children?

    I think the DHB is completely missing the point. I have 2 little children of my own and I have come to realise how important good dental hygiene, healthy nutrition and a healthy lifestyle in general are to maintain a healthy body and teeth. As you mention most of the children that had to have dental treatment come from low income areas. I see everyday children that are stuffed full of fast food, sweet treats, soft drinks, even baby’s that are given coke in their baby bottles and the like. Do you really believe you are going to fix their teeth by pouring a toxic chemical in the water? They are going to have bad teeth with or without fluoride and a bad health on top of that. And in the whole process you have forced the whole Hastings and Havelock North population to ingest Fluoride, for lots of them against their will.

    I find it appalling that the Health Board believes the community is not able to decide for themselves in a public referendum if they want fluoride added to their water or not. We have a right to decide what we put in our and our children’s body’s Mr. Atkinson. I want to have a choice!

    If you are so keen to improve the dental health of those poor children with fluoride I suggest you give them fluoride pills. Although I doubt very much that will solve the problem. It comes down to a good nutrition and good hygiene and the problem here lies much deeper. The DHB and Government should concentrate on how to tackle the many problems that exist in the lower income families in New Zealand and what can be done to improve their and their children’s lives.

    I think it is unethical to force all your citizens to ingest fluoride if there are only very few who might need it.

    I would like to ask the councillors and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board to each inform themselves individually on water fluoridation. Here are only a few to start with:

    · Dr Paul Connett, the leading environmental chemist, will be in Hawke’s Bay on 5th April. At 1pm that day he will be speaking to the Council about the health effects of drinking fluoride.

    On Tuesday April 5th at 7pm there will be a public meeting (venue to be confirmed) when Dr Connett will answer your questions about fluoride and give a presentation of the latest research. Everyone welcome.

    Dr Connett wrote the book ‘A Case Against Fluoride’ .

    Dr. Paul Connett is the Director of the Flouride Action Network, and the Executive Director of its parent body, the American Environmental Health Studies Project (AEHSP). He has spoken and given more than 2,000 presentations in forty-nine states and fifty-two countries on the issue of waste management. He holds a bachelors degree from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Dartmouth College and is a retired professor of environmental chemistry and toxicology at St. Lawrence University. He lives in Canton, New York.




    · New Australian film highlights fluoride toxicity, Fire Water: Australia’s Industrial Fluoridation Disgrace.

    View chapters of the film here:

    This documentary pulls no punches – a groundbreaking and important edition to the great Australian fluoridation fightback. It should serve as an ‘infoweapon,’ informing the public and shaming those who continue to promote forced fluoridation against all scientific, medical and ethical principles. For those who know the dark truth of water fluoridation, the corporate, bureaucratic and government ‘spin’ and corruption, is an all-pervasive ‘stench’ that can no longer be tolerated by any rational individual. One thing is for certain: If you were largely unaware of the fluoridation fraud, after watching Fire Water, you will never look at your glass of tap water the same way, ever again. For those currently campaigning against fluoridation, Fire Water shall serve as fresh ammunition for the fight.

    Fire Water: Australia’s Industrial Fluoridation Disgrace began with a request for a single interview and ended up as a full documentary that includes insights from a wide variety of featured speakers – nineteen full interviews. In August 2010, citizens from Geelong, Victoria requested the services of independent filmmaker Jaya Chela Drolma, via freelance writer Daniel Zalec, in order to record the personal account of a single fluoride sufferer. Jaya agreed. Filming began in September. Daniel also agreed to come on board as Researcher/Writer. Geelong, being a recent high-profile forced fluoridation battleground, safe water advocates in this regional city were not hard to come by.

    After discussions with local advocates and potential interviewees, it was decided that the wealth of knowledge and experience from potential interviewees was too valuable to not take advantage of. Australian content on this issue is relatively sparse; and, the Fire Water project is completely unique in terms of vision and delivery. Further filming was organised immediately. Following filming in other areas of country Victoria, the project moved to Queensland – another recent fluoridation battleground; then, to New South Wales and South Australia. By this stage it had been decided that not only would a full documentary be produced and made available for free YouTube view (and DVD sale), but that the film would be accompanied by all interviews, accessible online and referenced in their entirety.

    Fire Water was entirely funded by donations from members of the Australian community who object to the practice of forcing toxic industrial waste into public drinking water supplies. This included donated time by creative professionals, equipment loaning and financial assistance. Beyond this ‘inner core’ group of individuals, the project was kept completely secret until launch day (i.e. Feb 14th2011). Fire Water provides a rare platform for a range of individuals, each opposed to mandatory water fluoridation, to have a voice on this issue. Fire Water is a damning indictment of Australian fluoridation enforcers at the government and bureaucratic levels, the vested interests behind these authorities and their media cronies, who either sycophantically parrot the ‘official line’ or ignore the issue entirely.

    Please give the people of Hawke’s Bay the right to speak for themselves on water fluoridation.

  2. Thanks to Silke for spelling out the disgraceful water fluoridation situation. Silke, I hope your essay reaches far and wide and HDC citizens become well enough equipped with accurate information to be able to say NO to having our water fluoridated with hydrofluorosilicic acid and to being compulsorily "treated" with something which isn't suitable in any way for human consumption.

    I wonder if people have stopped to wonder what hydrofluorosilicic acid is? Is it a medicine, is it a deficient nutrient? If not those, then what is this thing we are all expected to ingest in a random way and what place does it have in our bodies – especially children's and even worse, babies'?

    And what does it do to the waterways where it inevitably goes, even though industry isn't allowed to put it there? After all it's a very toxic industrial waste substance classed as "Hazardous" and as such is required to be handled with the very strictly prescribed safety measures that go with this Class of substance.

    Do we all really mean to consume something from the Hazardous Substance category? Do we include Hazardous Substances on our shopping lists? No? Funny that!

    I urge people to become FULLY informed and to care about what goes in their and their families' mouths. There's lots of balanced, thorough and trustworthy information – see Silke's letter for easily accessible and understandable resources.

    I endorse Silke's plea to "Councillors and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board to each inform themselves individually on water fluoridation". This is the responsible way to make sound decisions.

    Most of all I ask these decision-makers to do the right thing and acknowledge the ethical issues: – no informed consent, enforced "treatment", mass non-individualised "medication" and administering unsafe substances. The weighty moral responsibility from being party to such a misguided and harmful practise is not one I would choose to carry!

    I ask the Councillors to recognise the inappropriateness of water fluoridation, and the DHB to put resources into addressing the real causes of tooth decay with education and support where needed for dietary and lifestyle improvements.

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