Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for South East England, has called on the Department for Health to facilitate a fair and unbiased process that will allow local authorities to decide whether or not to add or remove fluoride to drinking water.
In Spring 2013, following the abolishment of Strategic Health Authorities (SHA), local authorities will be given control over the controversial issue of water fluoridation, the addition of fluoride to a public water supply in an attempt to reduce tooth decay. Four out of nine counties in the South East region have areas of artificially fluoridated water and there is an active campaign in Southampton to stop the city becoming the first in Hampshire to have such water treatment.
Keith said “Having read a wealth of independent scientific information about the ineffective use of fluoridation, I am opposed to the artificial fluoridation of water. Mass medication of our drinking water is not the answer in dealing with dental problems and it can have a negative impact on vulnerable groups such as diabetes patients, the elderly and pregnant or nursing mothers.”
Keith continued: “The current government consultation is solely about how the decision whether to fluoridate water is made. Therefore it is imperative that all of the Department of Health’s supporting documents are unbiased and neither support nor oppose fluoride. I am concerned that this is not the case at present.”
The consultation which closed on 27 November also includes guidance on how local authorities can terminate the artificial fluoridation of water. However, there are concerns that the process may make it more difficult for local authorities to stop water being added to the water supply than it is to add it. This is an important issue for the 72% of Southampton residents who took part in a local consultation and opposed water fluoridation, but who were sadly ignored.
Keith continued: “If local authorities are to be responsible for deciding whether or not to introduce fluoride to the water it is crucial to ensure that, at the very least, they are as empowered to oppose and terminate fluoride contracts as easily as they can to introduce or keep them. This is very important to the residents of Southampton who have hope that they can reverse the decision next year.”
Keith concluded: “I have already written to the EU Commission regarding this important issue and I will be working with the campaign group, Hampshire Against Fluoridation, in the countdown to local authorities being handed the decision making powers. I believe an effective dental health strategy should include free dental care and proper education for children and their parents. I will be doing all I can to ensure water in the South East is not artificially fluoridated.”
Keith’s consultation response can be seen here.