CAMPAIGNERS are meeting today to launch the latest round of their battle against plans to put fluoride in Hampshire’s drinking water.
Three years after health chiefs gave the scheme the green light, Hampshire Against fluoridation is using the anniversary to launch a new protest over the move.
The group is staging an open meeting at Southampton Solent University’s Sir James Matthews Building on Above Bar, from 2pm today to urge members of the public to send postcards to the South Central Strategic Health Authority saying they do not consent to being medicated against their will.
Organisers hope thousands of people could help highlight what they see as the unethical process of “mass-medication” that will see the chemical delivered to around 200,000 people in homes and workplaces in Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams in a bid to improve children’s poor dental health in parts of the city.
On Sunday it will be three years to the day since the SHA approved fluoridation, in the face of opposition from 72 per cent of the 10,000 people who responded to its public consultation.
Hampshire Against Fluoridation chairman Stephen Peckham said the new campaign is aimed at highlighting the immorality of forcing people to receive fluoridated tap water against their will.
The postcards they want people to send to the SHA contain the messages “Keep our water fluoride free – stop the SHA plan to add industrial grade fluoride to Hampshire’s drinking water” and “I don’t consent to having my drinking water medicated with fluoride”.
Mr Peckham said: “It’s a fact that none of the councils, none of the MPs and the majority of local people don’t want it – it’s only the SHA who think it’s a good idea.
“While the SHA don’t call it medication, politicians locally and nationally have called it medication and said it’s important this is decided locally.”
The SHA is currently working with Southern Water on the plans for implementing fluoridation after successfully defeating a legal challenge to the scheme last year. A study by the firm on how it could work is expected to be finished within three months.
The health body has repeatedly said it remains committed to fluoridation as the best way to improve dental health in Southampton.
A spokeswoman said in a statement: “The SHA board decided that the health benefits outweigh all arguments against water fluoridation for the population described in the consultation and remains confident with this decision.”