PROTESTERS have launched a campaign to halt plans to add fluoride to Hull’s water supply.
An online petition has been launched calling for Hull City Council to abandon its water fluoridation plans.
Figures show 43 per cent of Hull children are suffering tooth decay, one of the worst rates in the country, and the scheme is being considered by Hull’s Health and Wellbeing Board as part of the solution to the problem.
However, Paddy Holdsworth, of East Yorkshire Against Fluoride, said: “The fact is that this is compulsory medication. This is just crazy and there is a very strong case to say this is not actually legal.”
Mr Holdsworth, who has campaigned against GM crops and fracking in the past, said he was “absolutely convinced” fluoridation did not tackle tooth decay and claimed statistics showing tooth decay among children almost halved just six years after fluoride was added to Birmingham’s water supply had been “massaged”.
He said there was scientific evidence that showed a link between water fluoridation and illnesses including cancer and Alzheimer’s.
When asked to comment on a study by Public Health England, which found no links between water fluoridation and the health risks protestors claim it causes, Mr Holdsworth said: “Within very large populations like the Midlands, it’s very easy to hide cases of people being poisoned.
“They won’t find it if no one is looking for it.”
Martin Deane, of Hull and East Riding Green Party, is also calling for the scheme to be dropped.
He said: “Fluoridation is mass medication.”
“Only 11 per cent of the UK is fluoridated and many countries are dropping it.
“With any medication, you have to be aware of the level of sensitivity to the drug.
“The same applies to fluoride toxicity, but you can’t do that with mass fluoridation.
“Fluoride accumulates in the human body. That’s why there are warnings on toothpaste tubes, that’s why you should always spit after tooth-brushing.
“Also the fluoride used in fluoridating water is very different and newer studies implicate it in a range of conditions.”
Public health officials have been bracing themselves for an anti-fluoridation campaign ever since the plans were mooted.
However, they stress a mass consultation programme will have to be undertaken before a scheme can be introduced.
Hull dentist Chris Groombridge said: “Naturally, people have fears and concerns. It would be unnatural if they did not.
“The science, though, proves the case that it works and it does not cause illness or disease.
“If the case is properly presented, if people rely on factual evidence rather than scare stories and if the citizens of Hull put the health needs of local children first, I am quietly confident that there will be a majority in support.”
Scheme could cost £100,000 a year to run
IF HULL goes ahead with plans to add fluoride to the water supply, it could take three years for the scheme to be introduced.
Hull’s Health and Wellbeing Board is considering the plan and its chairman Colin Inglis and MP Alan Johnson have already met dentists to understand the benefits.
Likely to require the support of East Riding Council, the scheme could cost £300,000 to introduce and £100,000 a year to run.
However, the £22m public health budget is ring-fenced for projects that benefit the health of a large section of the population, so it’s likely the Health and Wellbeing Board would pick up the bill for the annual running costs.
If East Riding Council agrees to the water fluoridation plan, Public Health England will work with Hull City Council to find out if the plan is feasible.
There will have to be a major public consultation exercise to canvass views. And the scheme can only go ahead if it is approved by sufficient numbers of councillors on the relevant local authorities who represent more than 67 per cent of the population.