My Submission Against Compulsory Water Fluoridation

My Oral Submission to the Health Select Committee on the Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill. If passed, this bill would introduce mandatory water fluoridation throughout New Zealand. At present, decisions are on the local level and only 27 out of 67 local councils fluoridate their water. With the current ban in most of western Europe against water fluoridation, the current trend is for local authorities to remove fluoride from their water.

Only 11 countries in the world have more than 50% of their population drinking fluoridated water: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Guyana, Hong Kong, the Irish Republic, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, the United States and New Zealand


I speak in opposition to this bill.

I am a retired Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. I have 33 years clinical experience post-training – eight of them for the New Zealand Health Service. I have a subspecialty in child development.

Before moving to New Zealand in 2002, I was also on the clinical faculty at the University of Washington Medical School for over 15 years. As part of this role, I was expected to keep abreast of the medical literature and to demonstrate an ability to apprise scientific studies for their reliability and validity. This was not only in the field of psychiatry, but in the field of genetics, metabolism, neurobiolgy and endocrinology – owing to their major impact on psychological functioning.

The Scandal in US Public Health Research

Based on this background, I wish to alert the select committee to the current scandal in the US in the area of public health research. The scandal largely relates to flawed nutrition research resulting in decades of recommendations by the public health community for people to eat low fat, low salt, high carbohydrate diets. The tragic effect of these recommendations – without a shred of valid or reliable research evidence – is a global epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay.

Much of the research supporting water fluoridation is of a similar vein. The studies typically have a very small effect size, lack vital design features that eliminate observer bias and confuse statistical association with causality. There isn’t a single double blind randomly controlled trial showing that water fluoridation is either safe or effective in preventing tooth decay. Likewise there are no observational studies – where populations are followed over 20-30 years to ascertain the long term effect of drinking fluoridated water.

Fluoride is a Neurodevelopmental Toxin Like Lead and Mercury

In contrast, there are extensive studies suggesting that fluoride – even in the low doses used in water fluoridation is a neurodevelopmental toxin – ie that it has toxic effects on the fetus and in young children as their brains are developing. A 2014 peer-reviewed article about the pandemic of neurodevelopmental toxicity in The Lancet, one of the world’s preeminent medical journals specifically lists fluoride as as one of 12 common neurodevelopmental toxins – along with lead, mercury and PCBs. Fluoride has been identified as a potential neurotoxin largely on the basis of over 100 human studies and even more animal studies indicating that it causes cognitive damage and a range of long term behavioral and psychological problems through continuous exposure during pregnancy and early childhood.

One of the points emphasized in The Lancet is that substances that cause neurodevelopmental toxicity do so at very low doses – doses that are much, much smaller than the doses that cause acute poisoning. For many years the public health community reassured us that a low dose of lead and mercury poisoning caused no harm to human health – a position that has been reversed (after causing significant permanent disability for hundreds of thousands of children) after decades of careful research.

Now public health advocates are trying to convince us that low doses of fluoride are perfectly safe and based on past history I think the public has good reason to be skeptical.

No Research Evidence on Maximum Safe Dose

The problem with this approach – and the main argument that has caused all western European countries except Britain and Ireland to ban water fluoridation – is that there has been absolutely no research to determine what the maximum safe fluoride dose is, especially in vulnerable populations, such as those with kidney failure or infants whose ONLY food intake is formula prepared with fluoridated water.

All existing research focuses on the concentration of fluoride in drinking water, with recommendations ranging between 0.7 to 1.0 parts per million. The problem with focusing on concentration is the daily dose individuals receives varies greatly depending on how much tap water they drink, whether they concentrate it via cooking and other sources of fluoride in the diet. Tea is a major source of fluoride and Kiwis are great tea drinkers – which means they consume substantial additional fluoride in this way.

The prevailing sentiment in Europe is that when governments claim low doses of fluoride are safe, they have an absolute obligation to produce research evidence demonstrating the dosage at which daily exposure becomes unsafe before they force an entire population to consume it daily in their tap water.

This is also the main argument that persuaded New Plymouth District Council to remove the fluoride from our water in 2011 – like hundreds of local authorities in other English speaking countries that still fluoridate water. The New Zealand government most definitely has the same obligation to the New Zealand people.

photo credit: tankgirlrs Florine[F]9 via photopin (license)

34 thoughts on “My Submission Against Compulsory Water Fluoridation

    • Unfortunately, Futuret, hundreds of thousands of people in third world countries are already dying every year due to starvation and the effects of climate change. Unfortunately “preparation” isn’t an option for them because they have been driven off their land and have no income.


  1. Pingback: My Submission Against Compulsory Water Fluoridation | The Most Revolutionary Act | rudolfblog

  2. Great post and great work. With all of the studies documenting the debilitating effects of fluoride it’s amazing anyone would consider something like this. I’m fortunate to currently be living in an area that does not fluoridate the water.

    Thank you for speaking out on this important issue.


    • Thanks for that, Shelby. Your support means a lot to me. I’m not sure how much good I did. The only good I did. The only question the committee asked me was “Were you aware the fluoride studies cited in the Lancet were mostly done in China and Iran?” The current NZ government is incredibly racist and xenophobic – so apparently this disqualifies the studies.


      • No, that is not a matter of racism. It’s a matter fo the studies being done in areas of endemic fluorosis in China and Iran. Similar studies with similar results have also been done in India.

        The problem is, of course, that people in areas of endemic fluorosis suffer all sorts of negative health effects. Just one of these, the high incidence of premature births, could be a strong factor in explaining IQ differences.

        One thing for sure, though is drinking water F does not explain the effect. The strongest paper in this review – Xiang et al (2003) – did not report the statistical analysis for their water F – IQ relationship but did report the relationship for urinary F and IQ. This explains only 3% of the variance in IQ. Even that explanatory power would most like disappear when confounders are considered.


        • Hi Ken, thanks for the comment. I think you’re missing the point of my submission – that serious studies related to the effect of neurotoxins on the brain look for correlation between daily dose and harm. The concentration is irrelevant owing to a high level of dose variance between individuals at a given concentration. Urinary concentrations were statistically significant because urinary concentration correlates with dose – not with water concentration. My point here is that there are no studies investigating the link between daily dose and harm. It’s precisely because there are no dose/harm studies that fluoride has been banned in nearly all European countries.




    • Well, a shiftinconsciousness, I think it says a lot that all the non-English speaking countries of western Europe ban fluoridation – the other thing they share in common with the US (and the UK, Ireland, Australia and NZ) is the domination of their government by corporate lobbies. Here in NZ, the fluoride we use is a toxic biproduct of the fertilizer industry.

      At present New Plymouth no longer has fluoride in their water – after a year long battle a local community group waged in 2011. Now the NZ government is seeking to reverse the democratic decision we made – if they go ahead and pass this insane law it will be challenged in court because the great majority of Kiwis oppose it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi – do you have any references or citations to support your claim that community water fluoridation is a neurotoxin ).7 – 1ppm?

    And do you want to eliminate the existing fluoride in the water given that ambient levels sit at about 0.3 – 0.4ppm?

    Thanks 😀


  4. Talking points from the “Lancet “paper state this
    Most of the research cited in the 2012 study came from regions where known neurotoxin contaminations, including arsenic and lead ,are significant problems
    The studies failed to account for the toxic effects of these contaminants.

    The 2012 study also noted that “each of the articles reviewed had deficiencies, in some
    cases rather serious ones” and recognized the need for more research before
    conclusions could be drawn.

    In a letter to the Wichita (KS) Eagle a few months after publication of the 2012
    , the authors of the study noted
    “These results do not allow us to make any judgment regarding possible levels of risk at levels of exposure typical for water fluoridation in the U.S.”

    In regard to being no safe dose
    Maybe the author would like to show the medical case histories of all the people who have suffered illness due to CWF at .7-1PPM? I cant find any, But in a population base of 370 million users I,m sure the Author would have thousands to back up her claim


  5. I was interested in your submission because it doesn’t actually refer in any way to the substance of the bill – the transfer of decision making from local councils to DHBs. Yoru submission argues against fluoridation but that hearing was not a place for such consideration.

    I am wondering what the response of the cimmi9ttee members was.

    I am also making a submission this coming week and I will not argue for or against fluoridation – but for changes to the way the scientific consideration made. At the moment (and the way the bill is written) the scientific considerations made by politicians – and that is why councils have asked that the decision should be made centrally. Politicians do not have the skills to consider the science – and there are a lot of misleading claims being made. Your claim that fluoride is a neurotoxin and citing the Lancet paper is an example of a misleading claim. You should actually read the paper (it doesn’t use the word “neurotoxin” in relation to fluoride) – and the only citation referring to fluoride where the authors specifically say their results are not to be interpreted as applicable to community water fluoridation.

    My submission will argue for the scientific consideration to be made by a scientifically6 qualified body.I see the Public Health Advisory Committee as being the ideal body to handle that centrally.

    This would have the advantage that scientific claims made for or against community water fluoridation could be handled by experts – not poiliticians. In no way would this hinder such submissions – it would just make them more meaningful.

    I think a qualified body like this would be able to take your assertions about the lancet article for what they are worth.


    • I guess one thing we agree on Ken is that politicians don’t have the skills to consider the science. This was one of the arguments made in favor of ending water fluoridation in New Plymouth – that the councillors didn’t have the ability to evaluate the merits of conflicting scientific claims.


      • The irony of your comment is that the decision in New Plymouth was made by politicians – who just do not have the skills to consider the scientific aspects. Clearly, they should not have made such a decision. Hopefully, that situation will be reversed in the next few years.

        Exactly the same thing happened here – and the council was forced to back down in the end because voters objected.


        • When I say here – I mean Hamilton. Sorry.

          This experience is why the Hamilton City Council in their submission urged the decisions on fluoride to be made centrally as they see the same distortion of democracy happening with the DHBs.

          Many of the submissions are saying exactly the same thing – I would not be surprised to see the bill amended accordingly.


  6. Without even reading your full submission I can see you Do not know what you are talking about. Don’t want to hurt your feelings but the health and welfare of thooosands is at stake.


        • I get my evidence from peer reviewed studies, Ken. The burden isn’t on me to prove that chronic exposure to fluoride (a known industrial toxin) is safe. The burden is on public health authorities to determine the daily dose of fluoride that is safe (in terms of long term health effects). That has yet to happen.




            • I’m not avoiding the question, Ken. I’m simply refusing to let you set the terms of the debate – because I don’t accept that the burden lies with citizens to prove that fluoride is unsafe. As with all questions of chemical trespass the burden lies with government and corporations to prove the toxic chemicals they expose us to are safe – before they expose us to them. This has never happened with fluoride. If you’re really interested in where I’m coming from (which I seriously doubt at this point), I highly recommend you read the expose by BBC investigative reporter Christopher Bryson called The Fluoride Deception.


              • But hasn’t the science already proven it is safe? – in the sense that so far there is no evidence of harm. Locally with have the Royal Society/Office of the Cheif Science advisor review.

                Eason, C., & Elwood, JM. Seymour, Thomson, WM. Wilson, N. Prendergast, K. (2014). Health effects of water fluoridation: A review of the scientific evidence. Retrieved from

                And there are many others.

                The anti-fluoride people keep claiming it is unsafe – the onus is on them to support the claim but they can never produce any credible evidence. The poor quality Chinese studies promoted by the Connett crowd are not relevant to community water fluoridation and the current research on areas appropriate for the levels used in fluoridated water shows those studies from areas of endemic fluorosis are not appropriate.

                You should read the above review and some paper like these:

                Broadbent, J. M., Thomson, W. M., Ramrakha, S., Moffitt, T. E., Zeng, J., Foster Page, L. A., & Poulton, R. (2014). Community Water Fluoridation and Intelligence: Prospective Study in New Zealand. American Journal of Public Health, 105(1), 72–76.

                Perrott, K. W. (2015). Severe dental fluorosis and cognitive deficits. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 48, 78–79.

                Barberio, A. M. (2016). A Canadian Population-based Study of the Relationship between Fluoride Exposure and Indicators of Cognitive and Thyroid Functioning; Implications for Community Water Fluoridation.

                Aggeborn, L., & Öhman, M. (2016). The Effects of Fluoride In The Drinking Water.

                Yes, I have watched Bryson’s video, read his book read Connett’s book, debated Connett – and I cannot find any of their claims which stand up to scientific scrutiny. in my debate with Connett, I show how his claims are wrong – and he could not, in the end, support his claims.

                Have a read of Connett & Perrott – The fluoride debate.

                Are you attempting to set the terms of the discussion by making an unsupported claim and then refusing to provide any evidence at all? Further – refusing to consider the existing scientific publications on the issue?


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