9 Nov 2010

Daily Echo - Unwanted and totally misconceived

Unwanted and totally misconceived
By Stephen Peckham
Reader in health policy at the Department of Health Services Research and Policy.
SOUTH Central Strategic Health Authority continues to argue that its decision to fluoridate water supplies is both justified and "will benefit the people of Southampton for generations to come".
How they can continue to take this line and spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on fighting the judicial review beggars belief, particularly when there is increasing evidence that water fluoridation is both ineffective and harmful.
In September I attended a hearing of the European Union Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risk to discuss the most recent research on water fluoridation.
The committee, made up of leading European scientists has already published an interim report in which they described water fluoridation as "a crude and rather ineffective form of systemic fluoride treatment to prevent dental cavities without a detectable threshold for dental and bone damage".
It was refreshing to be involved in a discussion where those raising genuine scientific concerns about the effects of water fluoridation were not dismissed by NHS apparatchiks as misguided and deluded. In areas where water is fluoridated, babies and young children are getting too much fluoride.
This has led to a huge rise in dental fluorosis and means, at the very least, that some children's teeth will be damaged. But then the dental community has known this for nearly a century -as even the first proponents of water fluoridation in the 1930s were concerned about the harmful >
effects of too much fluoride, even before the widespread use of '
fluoride toothpaste, mouth washes and pesticides.
For a decade dental health researchers have been publishing the results of studies that show that we have reached a point when water fluoridation is known to cause harm. This evidence has been conveniently ignored by the SHA. The fact that the American Dental Association and the American Pediatric Association recommend that babies and young children's exposure to fluoride should be limited has also been ignored in this country.
The report by the European Scientific Committee concludes that "There is no obvious advantage in favour of water fluoridation compared to topical application which is the most effective method for prevention of tooth decay." Perhaps our local NHS will finally accept that they got it wrong and abandon their plan for imposing this unwanted scheme.

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