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Fluoride free water on tap

By Jake Beleski

[email protected]

Masterton people now have access to fluoride-free water with the installation of a tap on Manuka Street, but some are calling for more drastic change.

The idea of supplying non-fluoridated water came from submissions made to the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan.

The unit cost $5000 to install, with another $5000 spent to connect to the Opaki Water Supply.

Fluoride Free New Zealand national co-ordinator Mary Byrne said it was a step in the right direction, but more extreme change was needed to combat fluoridation concerns.

“What we think is that for people to say fluoride works is ludicrous. It’s good of the council to give people a choice, but why not just encourage people who want fluoride to use fluoride toothpaste?”

Masterton’s water supply comes from the Waingawa River and the water is treated at a plant at Kaituna before being piped 8km to the urban area.

Treatment includes adding chlorine as a disinfection and fluoride as a public health measure.

New Zealand was behind the rest of the world in regards to eliminating fluoride, she said.

“The messages being given to the public are misleading. Only about five per cent of the world fluoridates, and 98 per cent of Europe does not. Ideally there should be a tap with fluoridated water installed and the rest of the supply should be left unfluoridated.”

Ms Byrne said top fluoridation promoters had identified fluoride has to be applied to the teeth to work, not swallowed.

The long-term effects of fluoride were not yet known, but would be discovered in the coming years, she said.

“The people that were using fluoride from the start are only 40 or 50 years old, so how can we know? We know it has recently been identified as a neurotoxin, with traces of heavy metals including mercury and lead.”

Masterton resident Stephen Butcher has been a strong advocate for the availability of fluoride-free water for the public, and identified the progress in Petone as a benchmark that Masterton should work towards.

“We would like to see our water supplied to the public the way it comes out of the ground – clean and fresh. Petone is what we want in a nutshell – people can go down to the CBD and get fresh water from the fountain.”

The process had been long and drawn out, although it was good to see progress being made, he said.

“It has been a long time and throughout the process a number of us were asking about it. They’ve kept it pretty quiet – I didn’t know it [fluoride-free tap] was there.”

Masterton District Council spokesman Sam Rossiter-Stead said the idea was first mooted in June 2015 after they had received a number of submissions.

“It’s not a particularly new development. Through the submissions we decided to make the decision which the people involved were informed of.”


  1. Great to have access for some Masterton residents to a fluoride-free water source.
    An 6yr average of Masterton (fluoridated) children’s tooth-decay rates, puts them on average 6.5% more caries-prone than their non-fluoridated Wairarapa counterparts. This is for two fundamental reasons:
    One is that tooth-decay is directly linked to deprivation.
    The other is that water fluoridation using fluoride salts such as the phosphate-fertiliser toxic waste “hyrofluorosilicic acid” used in Mastertons town water supply, (and throughout much of NZ) is of minimal (if any) benefit to teeth, and is certainly detrimental to the body and mind as a whole.
    I believe it is used for three reasons:
    Hydrofluorosilicic Acid, and Sodium silica fluoride are used because it became a socially acceptable way of getting rid of these extremely toxic industrial-wastes in the 1950’s. (Note that they are not allowed to be dumped to land sea or air, but they can be diluted in our water supply and fed to us.)
    In doing so, and claiming it to be one of the top 10 public health advances of the 20th century, it not only fits this purpose of elimination, but significant also, it takes the spotlight off the most addictive and destructive element of our food industry…that is, refined sugar.
    And thirdly, pride of the dental, and associated greater medical fraternity is at stake.
    The secret of tooth health is, eat plenty of fruit and veges, brush your teeth with anything (including baking soda or salt mixed in a cup of water). But most importantly; DON’T eat refined SUGAR. The dental industry and medical fraternity thrive on the stuff.

  2. Just get rid of the fluoride in the Masterton water! If Carterton and the rest of the South Wairarapa can do it, so should we! And I’m sure they are the healthier for it! My husband visits a friend with his own water supply and lugs 5 l glass bottles every 2-3 weeks, so we can have clean water! Would be great not having to do that. We also use a waterfilter that takes out 99% of fluoride, but it costs $ 150 every 4 months or so!!! My husband suggested this tap idea in his submission last year.

  3. I’m so glad Carterton don’t fluoridate the water. In Masterton, it would be much better if the people who wanted to flouride went to the fountain or took tablets or actually brushed their teeth.

  4. A good start for those wanting access to fluoridation free water. The next step is to remove fluoride from the water all together.

  5. As a note about fluoride, we need to be careful about the form. If fluoride is attached to calcium, as it occurs naturally, whatever is taken in is excreted. The fluoride used in water supplies is a fluoride salt removed from fertilizer because of it’s adverse effects of stunting growth and making larger, more brittle bones, in livestock. This salt is looking to attach to calcium and accumulates in bone, displaces iodine and so on hence the effects of poorer teeth, brittle bones, thyroid malfunction, lymphoblastic leukaemia and so on. There is a world of difference between research which shows that naturally occurring fluoride is safe and the wrongly labelled “misinformation” on fluoride salts. I think we need to be sure that, when we are talking about fluoride, we are talking about the fluoride salt because that is the one being put into Masterton’s water.

  6. NHMRC report found:

    Water fluoridation in Australia is effective in reducing the occurrence and severity of tooth decay. Some people may experience a slight change in the cosmetic appearance of their teeth due to an increase in the overall intake of fluoride but this does not affect the function of teeth. There is no evidence that water fluoridation within the current Australian range is associated with any negative health effects.

  7. Working as a naturopath in Geelong, many patients have been getting sick from the fluoride added to our water in 2009. Dentists, and doctors are aware of this as well. But all they can do is advise people to find another source of water. This is very hard to do. Especially when a person cannot wash in fluoridated water without getting sick. They find the answer in simply not washing. One lady went for six months without a shower. So it is good to see some small good move has been done by the council in giving residents an unfluoridated tap to get safe drinking water from.

  8. It is Mary Byrne and the Fluoride Free NZ activists group she runs that is misleading.

    She talks about applying fluoride to the teeth – the researchers talked about the reaction of fluoride at the teeth surfaces when we drink fluoridated water. It is this that is largely responsible for the well-established protective role of fluoride on existing teeth (although ingestion of fluoride also helps developing teeth – and of course bones).

    Ms Byrne is, of course, welcome to the publicly financed tap – but she should stop attempting to prevent the rest of us from benefiting from a well researched safe and effective social health policy – community water fluoridation.

    And the spreading of misinformation and distortion of the science is disgusting.

  9. This is a great idea but wouldn’t work for me because I have thyroid disease therefore I have to avoid fluoridated water and all products that contain it. 6 months after I started to avoid fluoridated water my TSH hormone levels returned to normal. It has taken 8 yrs for one of my anti-body counts to recover. After 2 yrs we had to install our own water supply after my health started to deteriorate again. 2 months later I came right – it was an expensive exercise however we now have the luxury of water uncontaminated by fluoride and other poisons that come with it (arsenic, cadmium and lead according to the Australian Drinking Water Standards). It’s bizarre having to carry our own water with us where-ever we go and choosing holiday destinations based on their water supply! In QLD a lot of the councils have now elected to discontinue this crazy practice and Europe is great – they respect the right of every individual to choose.

  10. Ms Byrne has voiced her opinions on Community Water Fluoridation, of which none are supported by any of the major Dental or Medical Institutions worldwide. Nothing is misleading.

    Many fluoridation systems that used to operate in
    Eastern and Central Europe did not function properly
    and, when the Iron Curtain fell in 1989-90, shut down because of obsolete technical equipment and lack of knowledge as to the benefits of fluoridated water

    As an alternative to water fluoridation,
    many European countries have opted for the use of fluo-
    ride supplements or salt fluoridation.

    There are about 366 million people on Community fluoridated water in the world.Not forgetting the millions who have had the benefits of it in the last 70 years
    Now if fluoride was as bad as it is painted , Where are all the case studies on people who have suffered from proven illness/disease from CFW at .7PPM?.

    There is no proof that CWF is a neurotoxin And the Lancet says “One of these substances newly proposed to be a neurotoxin was fluoride, though the only article cited by the authors to support their claim was one whose conclusion was that more research was needed before such a classification could be made.”

    Any traces of heavy metals that are in CWF have to pass strict international and domestic levels for Human purity and contaminate levels. As required by the New Zealand code of practice for Water Fluoridation in New Zealand

Comments are closed.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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