13 Aug 2010

Water firm comes off the fence to join ranks of anti-fluoride campaigners

Lymington Times 13th August
Water firm comes off the fence to join ranks of anti-fluoride campaigners
SOUTHERN WATER has admitted it does not want to add fluoride to Southampton's water supply, which would affect around 8,000 Totton residents.
The controversial decision was approved in February last year by the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) to combat child tooth decay in the city. It will affect 190,000 people in total and includes Totton because of the layout of the pipes.
Under the 2003 Water Act strategic health authorities have the powers
to instruct water companies to add fluoride to their supplies as a way of improving the oral health of their populations and to reduce inequalities. This is the first time it has been used.
Cadnam resident Bill Edmunds, who wrote to Southern Water to complain about the issue, received a reply from company secretary Kevin Hall who wrote: "Our position is clear that we are statutory water suppliers and our expertise lies in engineering and water treatment for this purpose.
"We would choose not to have to add chemicals that are not directly necessary for the provision of drinking water."
However, he added there was a statutory process for the addition of fluoride to drinking water and if it was met, the company would have a legal duty to comply.
Mr Edmunds told the 'A&T': "Now that Southern Water has revealed it too is against, surely it should be enough for the SHA to accept that it made a wrong decision and use the funds for more direct remedial dental care on those who are now in need of treatment."
A spokeswoman for Southern Water told the 'A&T1: "Our position on this issue remains the same. By law, if requested by a strategic health authority to add fluoride to the water supply, then we must do so.
"We cannot take a medical or ethical view on the subject. The decision to add fluoride was not taken by us and it is not our place to make such a decision, as stated in the letter."
A spokeswoman for the South Central Strategic Health Authority told the 'A&T' it remained confident that the decision made by the board "was carried out in the best interests of the health of people living in Southampton and parts of south-west Hampshire and in accordance with the relevant legislation laid down by parliament".
Opponents claim their concerns about the chemical's side-effects have been ignored, despite gathering a 15,000-name petition objecting and a Mori poll by the SHA showing 38% opposed against 32% in support.

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