21 Mar 2011

Daily Echo Comment

Fluoride: Another fundamental twist
IT is a strange state of affairs. The weekend saw a public meeting called by those objecting to proposals to add fluoride to Southampton's water supply which launched a petition demanding the city council takes action.
If the petition manages to obtain the signatures of a one per cent of the city's population - some 2,367 people - then the council will be forced to hold a 15-minute debate on the subject.
At this debate objectors would be allowed to present their case in the hope of obtaining a firm commitment from the council to block the fluoride plan.
However, attending this weekend's meeting was the council's deputy leader Jeremy Moulton, who gave assurances that the council would indeed block the introduction of the chemical if the Strategic Health Authority (SHA) had ceased to exist before implementing the scheme.
With power over the proposals passing to the city council when the SHA is abolished, this would seem to be a fairly watertight pledge to shut the project down before it gets started.
The question, however, is what will anyone be able to do if the scheme has begun before the SHA fades into history?
Will the city council be able to pull the plug then, and at what cost?
Once started, can the fluoride taps be turned off? So far this remains unclear, but what is crystal is that this whole debate is set to take yet another fundamental twist.

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