fluoridation – if you fail in the courts, try fear (& more misinformation)

Since the High Court judgement came out there's been a lot of news coverage on this issue – and an awful lot of misinformation & just plain fear tactics (particularly in social media) from those opposed to community water fluoridation (CWF).

Last night's news coverage had this from TV One News (skip to 5:43) and more from 3 News (skip to 2:53). Today there's an article on Stuff along with various stories and editorials in the print media. It's been notable how quickly those opposed to CWF have returned to spreading misinformation and to the use of scare tactics, plus the usual allegations in the social media about people being shills (with one commenter on Making Sense of Fluoride's Facebook page going so far as to suggest that the High Court judge was paid to make his judgement).

For example, on TV3 we had a commenter claiming that most people in Hamilton are against the use of CWF. Yet 70% of those who voted were in favour of this practice, and the numbers voting were such that we can be pretty sure that the poll accurately reflected overall opinion. That referendum made the news not that long ago, and you'd think that the TV3 journalist might have called the commenter on that.

And on yesterday's Radio New Zealand Checkpoint program, we heard Mary Byrne of the Fluoride Action Network saying that the ruling is a dangerous precedent:

The judge has said that it's legal because water is not a food for the purposes of the Medicines Act. So does that mean that councils can add anything they like to the water supply and it won't come under the Medicines Act, particularly things that may occur naturally, such as lithium. Is it kind of open slather for councils just to add what they feel like putting in the water?

The answer is 'of course not' – councils can't just add stuff to water at a whim and in fact drinking water quality is tightly regulated – but the reference to lithium is interesting, given that both fluoride and lithium are claimed to be used to turn people into sheeple (just do a google search on lithium, fluoride, and mind control & see what you get). And it's similar to claims on Seven Sharp's Facebook page that fluoride was used by the Nazis to help control concentration camp prisoners, a claim that even some anti-fluoride groups deny and which is absolutely false.

However, it seems that's unlikely to get in the way of a 'good' story, especially if it's likely to sow doubt & fear in people's minds.

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