8 Apr 2011

Lymington Times - fluoride bid to mire scheme in legal red tape

Anti-fluoride bid to mire scheme in legal red tape
ANOTHER legal battle is in prospect to stop the NHS adding fluoride in Totton's drinking water by tying the scheme up in red tape. Campaigners hope a bid to redefine fluoride as a medicine will fatally delay the project by the time the body responsible, the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA), is dissolved in March 2012 under nation wide reforms. The SHA gave approval last year to add the controversial chemical to 190,000 people's supply around Southampton — including 8,000 in Totton. It was put on hold until a Judicial review in February, which found In favour of the scheme. On Thursday in last week its board was told Southern Water might take months to draw up plans to implement the plan, which the SHA believes is safe and will drive down rates of child tooth decay. But opponents fear health side-effects and resent "forced" treatment — an issue Totton and Eling Town Council said it would take up by demanding a legal ruling on whether fluoride was "medication". The SHA is to be disbanded next year to make way for the government's NHS reforms handing funding to GPs, and the councillors' strategy is it to hold up fluoridation or possibly bring in new regulations to require public consent. Town clerk Derek Biggs said the council will contact the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and ask New Forest East MP Julian Lewis to write to the Department of Health. Coun. David Harrison proposed the action, which included refusing to recognise the SHA, and said it would be a "slap in the face" to show how the council felt the public had been ignored. 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. Coun. Harrison added: "We seek to demonstrate, with a legal ruling, that adding fluoride to tap water to treat a disease is indeed medicating. With the SHA set to be abolished within 12 months, we are hoping that this will be enough to see off the threat of water fluoridation." Fluoride was deemed not to be a medicine in 1999, and an MHRA spokesman told the 'A&T' it had no plans to amend the legislation. An application to appeal against February's High Court ruling has been listed for a short hearing on June 16th in the Court of Appeal

No comments: