FLUORIDATING Southampton’s water could be opening the floodgates for similar schemes across Hampshire.
Health chiefs elsewhere in the county have already admitted they are looking at asking for the controversial chemical to be added to supplies in their area.
With anger still raging over South Central Strategic Health Authority’s decision to back fluoridation for 200,000 residents in and around Southampton, despite fierce public opposition, campaigners fear other schemes will also be “bulldozed” through.
Portsmouth City Teaching Primary Care Trust, which abandoned plans for a study on adding fluoride in 2006, is reportedly looking at proposing fluoridation in its area as soon as April.
As with the Southampton scheme, any move to fluoridate Portsmouth’s water would not be confined purely to the city.
The water distribution system means many areas are served through the same network of pipes from one treatment plant.
The area served by Portsmouth Water Company includes much of Fareham and Gosport boroughs.
Fareham Borough Council leader, Sean Woodward told the Daily Echo he would take a “very dim view” of any proposal to add fluoride in his authority’s area.
“The council’s policy is unchanged from when we successfully opposed it 15 years ago. We’re not going to have that in Fareham,” he said.
“I am by profession a biologist, so I like to think I know a bit about the dangers of fluoride.
Fluoridation is wholly wrong.”
A survey last year revealed even less Portsmouth residents back fluoridation than the 32 per cent of people affected by the Southampton scheme who supported it in a phone poll during the public consultation.
But Portsmouth’s director of public health, Paul Edmondson-Jones has said he is still in favour of the idea and is looking to revisit it very soon because of the benefits he believes it will bring.
Like Southampton, the city has a poor record on dental health, with more children suffering tooth decay than both regional and national averages.
Following last week’s decision, Hampshire’s Green Party representative in the European Parliament, Caroline Lucas is talking to the EP Environment Committee to question the European Commission’s stance on fluoridation.
“We must be vigilant of further attempts to affect our water in this way,” said the MEP.
“This ill-advised decision to implement water fluoridation in Southampton demonstrates a contempt for the views of many local people – and for the evidence against fluoridation itself “It sets a worrying precedent for future fluoridation plans in the South East.”