A straw poll of local opinion, taken on the streets of Stroud in advance of the AGM of the Stroud and District Safe Water Campaign earlier this month (October) found 90 totally opposed to the threatened introduction of mass medication caused by the addition of fluoride to the total water supply in Gloucestershire… and just one in favour.
Chairman Rob Mehta reported that the threat (buried in the water bill and now enshrined in law) was getting geographically closer to the county. Recently. the National Health Service South West, the relevant official body for Bristol, had been charged by the government with conducting a ‘feasibility study’ about adding the relevant chemical (fluorosilic acid) to the city’s water supply.
He pointed out that with the resulting establishment of Bristolians Against Fluoridation and a fledgling organisation in Bath – also under imminent threat of this mass medication – there is now a network of opposition voluntary groups in the south and west of England.
The speaker at the AGM, Stephen Peckham of Hampshire Against Fluoridation, which included Southampton, reported on their success in showing that in every measure of consultation (a statutory process for the health authority) there over 70 per cent of residents voted ‘No’. Stephen, a Health Service researcher now at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, recalled how shocked the group was when, despite this clear showing of public opposition, the Strategic Health Authority announced it was going ahead anyway.
He also stressed how, despite government claims, up to date research had demolished their case that fluoridation reduced tooth decay in young children. (Scientists have found it simply delays – not reduces – it and in a significant percentage it causes the tooth disfigurement called ‘fluorosis’ which needs repeated and expensive treatment.) The Hampshire group have complained to the Ombudsman, he explained, on the grounds that the SHA cannot be said to have mounted a legally defined consultation (as guaranteed in the act.) They have also supported a local resident who succeeded in getting legal aid and won a judicial review which ruled there had been a lack of consultation by the SHA. That resident is also appealing a decision refusing a judicial review into the lack of official evidence produced for fluoridation.
Members of the Stroud and District Safe Water Campaign, which covers Gloucestershire, agreed to continue making grants to the Southampton organisation. “We believe the success on the streets and in the courts means the government has had to put a large part of their national push for fluoridation on hold,” asserted committee member Lynne Edmunds. “It is also trying to wriggle out of a European court ruling which our Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has to comply with, which states fluoride is a medical product and so has to go through many stringent legal safety hoops – not a ‘food’ as this government ridiculously claims.”