25 Mar 2011

Lymington Times - NHS 'bound' to continue on fluoridation, says chief

NHS 'bound' to continue on fluoridation, says chief
THE NHS chief in charge of adding fluoride to the drinking water of 8,000 Totton residents has signalled the scheme will press ahead after a High Court bid failed to stop it.
The South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) gave approval last year to add the controversial chemical to 190,000 people's supply around Southampton, which was put on hold until the judicial review in February.
Officially, the SHA said its board believed fluoride was safe and it was "considering its next steps" — but a letter from its chief executive, Andrea Young, to county councillors showed detailed planning was starting.
She wrote to Hampshire's health overview and scrutiny committee: "Our view is that this scheme has been consulted on in accordance with the current legislation and that we are bound to follow through on the results."
She said the SHA would be working on a plan and costs with Southern Water, and added: "The dental health of children in the Southampton area remains poor as it had been previously.
"Hundreds of children a year still require a general anaesthetic for the extraction of diseased teeth and we believe that there is still a need for water fluoridation."
The scheme was proposed by Southampton Primary Care Trust in 2009 but opponents resent "forced medication" and have lodged an
appeal against their loss in the High Court.
Last year opponents gathered a 15,000-name petition against fluoride and during consultation 72% of responses objected; although a Mori poll for the SHA showed only 38% against.
The chairman of Hampshire Against Fluoridation, Stephen Peckham, said: "I think the letter restates what the SHA's position has been all along—that come what may they will go ahead with this.
"It's a public health initiative that
is of dubious benefit and the arguments are extremely weak and it causes harm. If water fluoridation goes, in, we will get fluorosis and some children's teeth will be damaged — we know this.
"I think big questions about both the economic costs and feasibility of the scheme remain unanswered."
The SHA's next meeting will be on March 31st where the board is expected to discuss the outcome of the High Court case and its next move.

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