Relevant considerations - fluoride levels in urine, levels in drinking water - IQ & cognitive harm to children

J Bruning made this Official Information request to Ministry of Health

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Ministry of Health should have responded by now (details and exceptions). The requester can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: J Bruning

Dear Ministry of Health,

[1] Following this High Court decision:


Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health) have informed Whangārei District Council that while they are considering the judgement’s implications WDC are to continue fluoridation preparations as initially directed by Manatū Hauora.

(a) Please supply all advice legal and policy advice which provide the underpinning rationale to justify your instruction to continue.

[2] Director-General Ashley Bloomfield cites a 2021 Update by the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Chief Science Adviser as rationale for the safety and efficacy of fluoridation of drinking water. (A Cochrane Review cited by him does not consider neurotoxicity of fluoride). This 2021 Update did not consider existing levels of fluoride children's urine, and the existing science that demonstrates that children absorb and take-up far more fluoride in their bones than adults. As such, children in New Zealand can have 18% higher levels of fluoride than older populations.

(a) Please provide all policy advice, emails and memos held by the Ministry of Health that discuss this paper and its findings:
‘t Mannetje A, Coakley J, Douwes J. (2018) Report of the Biological Monitoring of Selected Chemicals of Concern. Results of the New Zealand biological monitoring programme, 2014-2016. Technical Report 2017-1. March. Centre for Public Health Research. Massey University. Wellington

(b) Please provide all reasoning by the (i) Ministry of Health and the (ii) Director-General considering the safety of exposures in drinking water balanced against current levels in urine in New Zealand children, and the potential risk of neurotoxicity (cognitive and IQ) based on additive exposures from natural sources and levels in drinking water.

[3] The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Chief Science Adviser is not a regulatory body and has not risk assessed fluoride to understand the lowest level where drinking water exposures may harm children under 7 - for cognitive and IQ loss.

(a) Please provide advice and reasoning directed to and by the (i) Ministry of Health and the (ii) Director-General as to why a 2021 Update by a politically appointed body, rather than a regulatory body should constitute a sufficiently rigorous scientific analysis to justify the safety and efficacy of fluoridated drinking water and exposures to hydrofluorosilicic acid, and its co-ingredients in New Zealand.

(b) Please supply scientific advice on the lowest safe exposure to for babies in utero and children up to age 7 on the lowest safe level (mg/L) of fluoridated drinking water that will prevent IQ and cognitive loss received by the (i) Ministry of Health and the (ii) Director-General.

[4] Ministry of Health data in Auckland inconsistently demonstrates that the small marginal difference in fluoridated drinking water will barely alleviate the oral and dental health burden experienced by low-income communities. It shows poor dental health burdens are vastly and disproportionately experienced by low-income communities, and this is seen by your data on year 8s (12-13 year olds).

(a) Please advise any policy discussion from January 2021 to the current date where the (i) Ministry of Health and the (ii) Director-General discuss low income and disadvantaged communities and how a strategy of redressing dental and oral health inequities through supply of toothbrushes and toothpaste to schools and medical clinics in these communities, and a programme of continuing education across these communities may prevent tooth decay and dental caries. Please include costings for such a strategy.

[5] Please supply the legal and policy basis which enabled the 2016 Select Committee report and the 2021 Inquiry Committee Report, to brush aside and dismiss all public concerns that were submitted about the health risk of fluoridated drinking water for these two committee processes involved in the passing of the Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

J Bruning

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Athina Andonatou left an annotation ()

I along with many are following this closely. Thank you

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From: OIA Requests

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Kia ora
Thank you for your request for official information. The reference number
for your request is: H2023033161
As required under the Official Information Act 1982, Manatū Hauora will
endeavour to respond to your request no later than 20 working days after
the day your request was received. If you'd like to calculate the
timeframe, you can use the Ombudsman's online calculator
here: [1]  
If you have any queries, please feel free to contact the OIA Services Team
on [2][email address]. If any additional factors come to light which
are relevant to your request, please do not hesitate to contact us so that
these can be taken into account. 

Under section 28(3) of the Act you have the right to ask the Ombudsman to
review any decisions made under this request. The Ombudsman may be
contacted by email at: [3][email address] or by calling 0800
802 602.

Ngā mihi
OIA Services Team
Manatū Hauora | Ministry of Health
M[4]inistry of Health information releases 

------------------- Original Message

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From: OIA Requests

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Attachment H2023033161 response letter 1.pdf
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Attachment H2023033161 Appendix 1.pdf
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Kia ora J,
Please find attached a response to your official information act request. 

Ngā mihi 


OIA Services Team

Manatū Hauora | Ministry of Health

M[1]inistry of Health information releases 
U[2]nite against COVID-19 

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J Bruning left an annotation ()

Please can you resend this information as I am having trouble opening the link that was provided.

Thank you

Jodie Bruning.

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M Bell left an annotation ()

Claiming the information requested does not exist is either dishonesty (from someone) or alternatively it is an admission of incompetence at high levels.
Hiding behind legal privilege is disingenuous, it would appear that many of these public agencies specifically use responses from lawyers as a way to obscure data that should be made public.
The claim of considering public interest is also very dubious, according to the ombudsman guide on that, this is supposed to be subject to a particular public interest test. Perhaps OIA request that documentation to see whether there is any real justification on that basis or whether they are just making it up.

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