THE announcement of a referendum as to whether or not fluoride should be added to the town’s water is not before time.
It is a serious issue that could affect the future health of Bolton’s residents and whether or not such a move will be of benefit is not clear cut.
What is clear is that the condition of the teeth of young people in this town is not as it should be – and something needs to be done.
Debate has raged for decades about the idea, and the town’s Primary Care Trust believes fluoride would improve the state of children’s teeth.
Those against, however, believe compulsory medication is wrong – should we be forced to accept fluoride? -and some have linked it to cancer and the deterioration of bones.
Evidence as to whether or not this is actually true is unclear, but where there remains a doubt caution needs to be taken.
There is no doubt that a referendum – there has been one before that resulted in a majority voting against fluoridation – will cost a lot of money, but without it the decision will be made without the general public having a say.
Another option would be to educate parents and children as to how teeth can be protected – less fizzy drinks and sweets would be a start.
We agree that action needs to be taken, but we also believe that the public should be consulted before a far-reaching move such as the introduction of fluoride into the water of this town is taken.
A referendum would not bind the decision-makers at the relevant health authorities, but would act as a very strong indicator as to the feelings of the people of this town.