Flu­o­ride de­bate to fea­ture aca­demics

The Southland Times - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

A top pro­fes­sor has agreed to spar with an anti-flu­o­ride group, say­ing it is a de­bate that needs to hap­pen.

Auck­land Univer­sity pro­fes­sor Michelle Dickinson will de­bate Pro­fes­sor Paul Con­nett, who is a se­nior ad­viser to the Flu­o­ride Ac­tion Net­work.

The group is an in­ter­na­tional coali­tion which re­fuses to ac­cept the cur­rent science on flu­o­ride, and claims it is highly toxic.

The Min­istry of Health says flu­o­ride is a nat­u­ral com­pound that ex­ists in air, fresh wa­ter, soil and plants. Flu­o­ride helps guard against tooth de­cay and its ad­di­tion to tap wa­ter is rec­om­mended by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Dickinson, also known as Nanogirl be­cause of her work as a nan­otech­nol­o­gist, has been an out­spo­ken critic of those op­posed to the flu­o­ri­da­tion of wa­ter and has stud­ied the topic as part of her mas­ter’s de­gree and PhD.

She will in­vite the prime min­is­ter’s chief science ad­viser, Sir Peter Gluck­man, to join her in the de­bate. Con­nett has ac­cused Gluck­man of re­ly­ing on ‘‘junk sci- ence’’ to sup­port flu­o­ri­da­tion.

Dickinson said there was no ev­i­dence for IQ loss in flu­o­ride stud­ies and the science was ‘‘quite clear’’.

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