24 Mar 2011

Daily Echo - In my view

Fight against fluoride will not go away
David Harrison
I attended a packed meeting organised by the campaign group “Hampshire Against Fluoride” in Southampton today.

From the constant stream of letters on the subject to The Daily Echo and attendance at these public meetings it is clear that the campaign to stop mass medication of our drinking water is not going to go away. I was particularly impressed that there were more people present from my home town of Totton than attended our Annual Town Council meeting in the week. A lot of people are very strongly motivated to fight these plans.

The body trying to impose this upon an unwilling population, the Strategic Health Authority, is due to be abolished within a year. It remains to be seen whether they will cotinue to press ahead, especially as any future decision making powers are likely to rest with local authorities who are against the plans or, in the case of Southampton City Council, won't go ahead without consent via a referendum.

The meeting heard from a dentist who is very strongly opposed to adding fluoride to the the tap water. He raised some interesting points that deserve consideration by a wider audience. The British Dentist Association, who support the plans, are sponsored by Colgate, producers of toothpaste with fluoride added to the product.

Fluoride is certainly a poisonous substance. It sits between Arsenic and Lead in terms of how toxic it is. The fact that it occurs naturally in some water does not in any way reduce the hazard. For example, in Bangladesh, arsenic occurs naturally in water and needs to be removed for public health reasons. Worryingly, it appears about 50% of fluoride we ingest is absorbed into the body and the dentist believes it impacts on the ability of the body to fight cancer.

A great many people attending the meeting could not understand how MP's have managed to frame the law in such a way as to leave the decision about putting fluoride in tap water with an unelected quango. They also felt that fluoride should be treated as a medicine, not simply an additive. It's planned to add it to the water to treat a disease, why then isn't it classed as a medicine and subject to all the usual licensing regulation and rules of consent?

Between 10% and 15% of the population have no teeth and use dentures. There is no benefit to them whatsoever from adding fluoride to tap water, why then should they be forced to accept risks to their health?

Adding fluoride to tap water also means there is no way of regulating exactly how much dosage of this industrial waste product each individual will get. There was huge suspicion, both about the true motivations of the industrialists keen to sell this material and complete bypassing of the democratic and regulatory systems.

If Southampton is seen is seen as a test area for fluoride, it's clear to me that the public won't swallow it!

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