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Advertising watchdog rejects billboard complaint

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Advertising watchdog rejects billboard complaint

The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected outright a complaint by New Plymouth dentist David Antunovic that a billboard reading "Fluoridation is safe - Yeah Right" breached the advertising code.

Mr Antunovic complained "this billboard incorrectly implies that fluoridation is unsafe. It is totally misleading and could cause unnecessary anxiety and stress to members of the public as well as being false and misleading on a very important preventive medicine practice."

The sign was placed by a local group - Fluoride-Free Taranaki, in conjunction with national health lobby group Fluoride Action Network NZ.

The fluorides used in public water supplies have never been tested for human health safety, according to the US Environmental Protection Association, which is responsible for water standards in the US.

"We know fluoride causes dental fluorosis - a defect in tooth enamel - by poisoning other body cells. This is not contested. Current science shows it is likely that fluoridation causes a 5 to 7 fold increase in osteosarcoma bone cancer in teenage boys. Research also shows it increases premature birth rates, with an associated increase in infant deaths", says Mark Atkin, Scientific and Legal Advisor to FANNZ.

"What is really interesting is that Mr Antunovic admits that fluoridation is a 'medical practice' - something the Ministry of Health denies. What councillors are qualified to prescribe medical treatment?", Mr Atkin points out.

Those promoting and opposing fluoridation will put their cases to the New Plymouth District Council's Tribunal hearing later this week - a review resulting from FANNZ' submission to the Council's 2010 Draft Annual Plan.

Ruapehu District Council recently voted to cease fluoridating Taumaranui. A number of Councils around NZ are reviewing fluoridation policy.

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