THE Scottish Executive has paid almost £70,000 of taxpayers’ money to a pro-fluoride lobby group, while claiming it was neutral on the issue.
Furious Green MSP Patrick Harvie has accused the Executive of bias for continuing to give grants, already totalling £68,500, to the British Fluoridation Society.
The BFS is a group of doctors and scientists set up to lobby for the addition of the chemical to drinking water supplies.
Today Mr Harvie called on the Executive to drop the proposals and also to tell Glasgow health bosses their own suggested scheme to add fluoride to drinking water was unacceptable.
The call came as anti-fluoride campaigners prepared for a meeting organised by the MSP in the city tonight.
Mr Harvie said: “This funding betrays a remarkably early bias by the Executive towards fluoridation and proves it was never neutral, as Ministers claimed.
“The society is not a scientific research organisation – it simply exists to promote and disseminate questionable information on fluoride.”
Glasgow dentist Lloyd Jerome said: “If the Executive is serious about tackling the real problems of child tooth decay it should adopt a tax on sugary drinks and sweets.
“Fluoridation would allow the government to say ‘don’t blame us for tooth decay, we’re doing something.'”
There was speculation at the weekend the Scottish Executive had abandoned proposals for fluoridation but the health department today confirmed no decision has been taken.
The Executive will publish a strategy for child oral health later this year but any moves on fluoride are expected to be held back to avoid delaying the introduction of other measures.
A spokeswoman said: “We have given these grants to the BFS because it can provide scientific information not only to ourselves but also health boards and the general public.”
Tonight’s meeting starts at 7.30pm in Renfield Saint Stephen’s Church, Bath Street.
*Note from FAN:
For a further understanding of the Scottish Childsmile program, which was created because of the Scottish Executive’s decision not to fluoridate, go to http://fluoridealert.org/content/childsmile/