AS someone else who has devoted his professional life to the promotion of public health, I recommend the residents of Southampton reject fluoridation of their water and review their use of other fluoridated items, such as toothpaste.
People vary considerably in their consumption of water. If the water is fluoridated, their consumption of fluoride will also vary. The notion of “optimally’’ fluoridated water falls down exactly there. Fluoride does not flow through the body, it accumulates in it. The more fluoride is consumed, the more is deposited in bone and some glands. It has no nutritional merit, and may do considerable harm.
I was party to the York Review of water fluoridation which reported in 2000. The reviewers were astonished to find so little evidence, of such poor quality, after half a century of fluoridation. The best conclusion we could draw was that fluoride improved teeth by about 15 per cent, but did almost as much harm severe enough to require dental correction. We could not reach any conclusion one way or another about potential harm to other organs of the body.
The chief problem with research to date is that most fluoride is now consumed from sources other than water.
Indeed, in Britain as a whole, most of which is not fluoridated, one fifth of us are already consuming more fluoride than the government says is safe. This comes from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2000-2003, the first national survey in which personal fluoride consumption has been estimated.
The same survey shows that for people who live in a water-fluoridated area, the proportion receiving too much fluoride goes from a fifth to two thirds.
In my opinion all you will achieve by fluoridating your water supply is to make most of you over-consumers of fluoride. Dentists may favour this, but know nothing of the damage done elsewhere in the body that has to be sorted out by doctors.