12 Jun 2009

Advertiser free paper report on fluoridation

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to add fluoride to Hampshire's tapwater have delivered their views to the Prime Minister.
Members of Hampshire Against Fluoridation took a petition with 15,300 names calling for the controversial scheme to be scrapped to Downing Street on Tuesday.
The activists were joined by Hampshire MPs Chris Huhne, Julian Lewis and Sandra Gidley as they handed over the signatures urging Gordon Brown to personally step in and order health chiefs to reverse their backing of fluorida-tion. The 30 campaigners then delivered a letter to new Health Secretary Andy Burnham calling on him to order South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) to drop its plans to add fluoride to supplies for 200,000 homes in Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton and Netley.
Caroline Place, one of the petition organisers, said: "We are hoping that the pol icy will be changed, that they will change the law about it. Overwhelmingly, as you can see from 15,000 people who have spoken by signing to say they don't want it, there is a majority against."
It came after Southampton Itchen MP John Denham joined calls for fluoridation to be put on hold.
Making his first public comment on the issue, Mr Denham warned against enforced fluoridation against such opposition. He said: "There is a real danger of proceeding with fluoridation against the wishes of too many people. "It would be better if the SHA were to place the implementation of its decision on hold. It needs to have a fresh-look at the situation and see how it might be possible to win greater public support. "The SHA should be prepared to say that, even if the health benefits are clear, it cannot ignore issues of public opinion or confidence."
Mr Denham, who was last week promoted to Communities Secretary in the Cabinet reshuffle, is himself in favour of fluoridation to improve children's dental health, but says any plan needs to command public confidence.
The SHA board unanimously approved the fluoridation scheme in February. Their decision came despite a 14-week public consultation showing overwhelming opposition to the scheme with 72 per cent of responses from people living in the affected area saying they were opposed to the plan.
Health watchdog the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is currently deciding whether to investigate the SHA's public consultation on the scheme. A SHA spokesman said it was satisfied evidence showed fluoridation was "a safe and effective way to tackle tooth decay" and that the health benefits outweigh all other arguments against water fluoridation.

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