A private care home in Workington is to start distilling its own drinking water – rather than allow its residents fo drink fluoridated water.
Ron Adair, who owns and manages Croft House in South William Street with his wife Vita, regards fluoride as a slow poison and is campaigning to have it permanently removed from West Cumbria’s supply.
He suspects that fluoride, which is supposed to safeguard against tooth decay, could be a primary cause of illnesses, inluding bone cancer.
He is to spend about £200 on a distillation unit for the drinking water for his family and his seven residents. The unit can distil up to 12 litres in 24 hours.
Mr Adair believes the health benefits of fluoridation are unproven and are secondary to the main reason, which is that no-one wants to take the tough decision to stop fluoridation after 32 years.
Cumbrians form part of about 10 per cent of the UK’s population who have their water supplies compulsorily fluoridated – although the fluoridation programme is suspended for most of Allerdale for the upgrade of equipment and will resume early next year.
The fluoridation authority is North Cumbria Health Authority, although water supply company United Utilities now has the final word on any new schemes.
Mr Adair, who is not part of the Cumbrians Against Fluoridation campaign, has written to United Utilities to ask it on whose authority it fluoridates supplies.
Its answer is that the fluoridation scheme for the county, first agreed in 1968 by Cumberand County Council and West Cumberand Water Board, has carried on as a preserved scheme.
The original undertaking was written in the 1985 Water (Fluoridation) Act.
Any new scheme must be preceded by a full consultation to be carried out by the health authority
Mr Adair says: “Basically, I regard the 1985 act, which is now part of the 1991 Water Industry Act, as a good piece of legislation. Although it preserved all existing schemes, which is bad, it made it very difficult for water companies to extend fluoridation.
“If there has been an[y] consultation at all on this with the public of Cumbria then I don’t remember it and it must have been back in 1968.”
Mr Adair is a chartered surveyor who lived and worked for 20 years in the USA and Canada, where there is huge opposition to fluoridated water.
He accepts that fluoridation is a theoretical plus in reducing tooth-decay in children but he backs research evidence from Washington State University in the USA which warns against its side-effects.
He said: “If North Cumbria Health Authority says it is okay then why don’t they shut up people like me by researching and publishing a health profile for illnesses like bone cancer over the last 32 years. If the profile shows that things are normal then reasonable people like me would almost certainly accept it.”
The authority says that a recent study at York University has indicated that fluoridation of water cannot be linked to cancer, Down’s syndrome, dementia, goitre, general mortality levels or bone density/fracture problems in older women.
The only drawback to it, says North Cumbria’s director of public health Dr Peter Tiplady, is a cosmetic problem – the mottling of teeth known as dental fluorosis which affects one child in eight.
* Allerdale council, which is a consultee on the fluoridation issue, is trying to gauge public feeling about the procedure. It has published a questionnaire, with three options, in the current issue of its Allerdale Outlook magazine, which is delivered to each home in the borough. Its members voted to support fluoridation in the mid-80s but the council has pledged to re-assess its position. ends.