3 Jul 2010

Repeal of water fluoridation laws

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Hampshire Against Fluoridation calls on the government to repeal the legislation that allows Strategic Health Authorities to impose water fluoridation on local communities. Despite setting out the need for consultation, Sections 87-91 of the 2003 Water Act and the Indemnity and Consultation Regulations (SI 2005/920 and SI 2005/921) permit unelected SHA boards to ignore local opinion and compel water companies to fluoridate water supplies. This is despite a government study (York Review 2000) concluding that there is insufficient evidence to support water fluoridation as an effective public health measure. In his speech to the British Medical Association on 30th June, the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, stated that public health measures should be evidence-based. The consultation in southern Hampshire was the first time these regulations have been put into practice and despite 72 percent of respondents to the consultation rejecting the proposal for fluoridation, the SHA decreed that it would go ahead. So much for all the assurances given by Ministers in Parliament that local communities would be listened to before water fluoridation was introduced.

Why the contribution is important
The consultation regulations allow for the compulsory medication of the local population without consent which is clearly unethical. The current legislation allows a pro-fluoride organisation (as opposed to an independent body) to carry out a “consultation” with the local community and then to totally ignore local opinion and impose water fluoridation regardless . Consultation itself is a meaningless exercise in this context as the legislation allows public opinion to be sidelined completely with unelected SHA boards able to ignore the consultation outcome . The end result is a colossal waste of NHS money, an unhappy community, disillusionment with the political system and legal action for which the NHS is diverting hundreds of thousands of pounds. The Southampton area is a test case – this is set to be repeated in many other areas of the country. NHS money should not be wasted in this way when essential services are under threat.

We call upon the Government to listen to local communities and respect the right of the individual not to be forced to drink medicated water. We therefore urge the Government to repeal the legislation that allows this to happen and use NHS resources to support targeted, evidence-based and more effective measures to prevent tooth decay in the small proportion off children most in need of help.

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