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SWANZ withdraws Hamilton fluoride challenge

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Safe Water Alternative NZ Inc (SWANZ) has withdrawn its Judicial Review proceedings against the Hamilton City Council.

SWANZ co-ordinator, Trevor Crosbie, says the reason is two-fold, "Firstly, it’s apparent to us that without substantial financial backing from benefactors we unfortunately cannot continue. While we had a good legal case, our resources are limited compared with the deep pockets of the council. We are grateful for the goodwill and generosity of supporters and won’t stop until we achieve our quest for safe unfluoridated water. We need time to explore our options, including the possibility of future proceedings on different grounds. We will not go away."

"Another factor is the growing number of challenges to fluoridation. We are confident fluoridation will be required to cease sooner rather than later as a result of these actions. With Israel’s decision to prohibit fluoridation effective 26 August 2014, the Republic of Ireland is now the only country with mandatory fluoridation in the world."

SWANZ, representing over 11,000 Hamilton residents who oppose having Hydrofluorosilicic Acid added to their water, without their informed consent or due consideration of evidence of harm, had filed proceedings against the Council on 28th April 2014. They claimed Hamilton City Council had not carried out a full consultative process when deciding to re-fluoridate the Hamilton water supply. Fluoride was restarted on 3rd July 2014. By that date Hamilton had been un-fluoridated for 378 days, since the Fluoride Tribunal decision in June 2013.

The reasons the Council gave when they stopped fluoridation included -

(a) they did not consider there was compelling evidence of benefit (for caries protection) and

(b) they did consider there was credible evidence of risks of harm

Mr Crosbie is emphatic these reasons still exist. "Unlike the recent (and unbalanced) Gluckman/Skegg report, the Council considered both sides of the scientific evidence and correctly identified that the potential risks outweighed the benefits. It is disappointing they didn’t have the nerve to stick with their decision."

SWANZ has requested that Council provides Hamiltonians with a choice, and that it supplies them with a public non-fluoridated supply of drinking water using de-ionising technology (at a cost estimated to be in the order of $10,000 to $15,000 to install and up to $3,000 annually to maintain).

"This is a reasonable proposal," says Mr Crosbie. "While the fluoridation myth persists, a non-fluoridated source of water for those who don’t want it is a fair request. Other councils already provide such a supply. For example, there is a source in Petone for Wellington residents and both Hastings and Palmerston North Councils are currently installing them. The cost to Hamilton ratepayers (Council) would be a small fraction of the legal costs that Council would have incurred if the Judicial Review had proceeded."

"The issue of adding a waste by-product to community water supplies will continue to be challenged until the practice ends," Mr Crosbie concluded.

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