Opponents of fluoridation all at sea with new legislation

Opponents of community water fluoridation (CWF) should be supporting the proposed fluoridation legislation instead of organising opposition to it.

Think about it.

If Fluoride Free NZ (FFNZ) was honest in its claim that they are “New Zealand’s leading advocate for science in the fluoridation debate” (see their press release  Open letter to Hon Andrew little, Minister of Health) then they should be supporting science rather than ideology and insist on the best scientific scrutiny of information relating to fluoridation.

If they honestly accept the claims of those cherry-picked anti-fluoride scientists they are quoting in their social media memes then they should welcome the opportunity to expose the research of those scientists to a proper critical review.

With scientific backers like this, opponents of community water fluoridation should be welcoming the new fluoridation legislation (example of social media memes promoted by the Fluoride Action Network)

And they should welcome the proposal that the proper place for such a scientific review is the office of the Director-general of health which can call on the best scientists for information and review of the evidence. That proposal is an integral part of the draft legislation which requires that the Director-General must consider the scientific evidence related to community water fluoridation before making a direction that CWF be introduced or stopped in a region (see clause 116E : Director-General may direct local authority to add or not to add fluoride to drinking water in the Supplementary Order Paper).

So, it appears strange that instead of welcoming the new legislation FFNZ is mobilising their supporters to oppose it. And their US colleagues at the Fluoridation Action Network are pouring their resources into the FFNZ campaign.

But why? It is ridiculous for pro-science people to campaign to retain the old system where the evaluation of evidence and decisions on CWF were made by scientific and political naive councillors in local bodies. Councillors who could be easily captured by activists and fooled by their misrepresentation of the science., Councillors who are more concerned with their next election or chances of claiming the Mayor’s job than any science. And councillors who are already predisposed to the claims of the activists, who may indeed be activists themselves, who were more concerned with ideological orientation than any science.

If the fluoridation opponents organised by FFNZ are really “leading advocates for science” and want recent research they are promoting to be considered in fluoridation decisions then they would be supporting the new legislation rather than opposing it.

Ideological distortion of science

I really wonder at a group of ideologically motivated people making submissions promoting their understanding (or misunderstanding) of the science to the Parliamentary Health Committee when that committee is simply not tasked with considering the science. Its job is to consider proposals for the reorganisation of the mechanism for making fluoridation decisions – nothing to do with science itself.

Instead of wasting their submissions on this bill, they should be saving them for promotion of their beliefs about what the science claims to the Director-General of Health and his/her staff. Once this bill is passed the Director-General of Health’s office should be a great place for these claims to be properly considered and reviewed.

That would be a vast improvement on the old situation when they took their arguments to scientifically and politically naive local body councils. Or brought in US anti-fluoridation spokesmen to speak to audiences of homoeopaths, head massagers and other alternative health advocates and their followers.

Or perhaps I am the naive one. Perhaps fluoridation opponents prefer to make their arguments to those local body councillors instead of scientifically capable people. Perhaps FFNZ is dishonest to claim they are ““New Zealand’s leading advocate for science in the fluoridation debate.” 

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