What are your views on fluoride & do you think that a DHB should take a role in this issue?
Personally I think community water fluoridation is an effective way to provide and make health accessible to all. I also know from facts available to me that there is no risk from fluoride in the water.
I strongly believe the DHB should take a role in this issue by advocating and promoting the health benefits - safe and affordable way to prevent and reduce tooth decay for everyone.
Absolutely DHB should provide information and facts to help community made a robust and enlightening decision whether they want fluoride in their public water or not and at what dosage..
Community water Fluoridation, in my view is one of many ways to assist in reducing health inequalities and improving the\r\nhealth outcomes. It goes a long way to avoid preventable dental health conditions - Recent national NZ study showed that 40% less tooth decay on average for children in fluoridated areas (ministry of Health\'s NZ Oral Health Survey, 2009.)
As I\r\nsaid in response to a previous question I support fluoridation of our drinking\r\nwater.
\r\nI believe the Hutt Valley DHB should have a role in deciding if our drinking water is\r\nfluoridated or not. This is because the DHB has an invested interest in the\r\nhealth outcomes of the people they serve, people living in the Hutt Valley and\r\nalso the greater population of New Zealand.
\r\nThe DHB should hold a clear stance on fluoridation and advocate when needed to\r\nlocal councils and central government.
Answer to previous question here: http://www.vote.co.nz/2013/q-and-a/should-we-be-the-ones-making-the-choice-about-fluoride
There seems to be some dental benefits with ingesting some form of fluoride, but it appears that we are about to have a public debate as to these merits and any damage that fluoride does.
The Ministry of Health needs to be fully involved in thsi debate, with proper information, for and against.
I have been disappointed with the Ministry's performance on this important issue.
As I am sure you know, there are several competing ideologies on this issue. I take the scientific viewpoint that in correctly small doses there are no harmful side-effects from having fluoride in the water supply. However, if fluoride was banned in the water supply, there would likely be very big costs to water supply authorities to remove the naturally occuring fluorides aready in the water supply!
Having said that, some overseas jurisdictions have taken the route of adding the fluoride to such staple food additives as salt - in much the same way that salt is/was available in \\\"Iodised\\\" and \\\"non-Iodised\\\" form to help prevent the development of thyroid conditions and goitres.
So, I have a view that, based on the scientific evidence relating to tooth decay - particularly in young children, it is beneficial to have some fluoride available to the whole population. This becomes more of an issue for low income families who would probably not buy such food additives if they faced higher costs. Thus, they would be at risk of higher dental treatment and related health costs if the fluoride were not in the water supply (or delivered by some equivalent mass dissemination mechanism).
The role of the DHB is to provide healthcare services in accordance with the Public Health and Disability Act 2000 (as amended). That means that the DHB is a Crown Agent accountable to the Minister for Health. This, in turn, means that the matter of providing the public with appropriate scientific information about the role of fluoride is a function of our national Public Health organisation rather than the DHB as such. This is not trying to avoid answering your question, it is merely explaining from where the information should come from within Government.
Hope this answers your question