COUNCILLORS have rejected proposals to add fluoride to Rossendale’s water supply after they were met with fierce criticism from residents and health experts.
Proposals to ‘mass medicate’ the Valley’s water supply with fluoride came under attack at a public meeting in Rawtenstall earlier this week.
Rossendale Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny committee decided at a meeting last night to write to Lancashire County Council, which is consulting on the proposals, and protest against the idea.
Councillors said fluoridation had not been proved to be an effective method of reducing tooth decay, nor was it ethically acceptable.
Coun Alyson Barnes said: “What concerns me is the keenness to meet targets in reducing tooth decay, but at what cost”
“The public perception is that it is wrong and that they do not agree with adulteration of the water supply to address a relatively small problem.
“This is like using an over-sized hammer to crack a nut.”
At a meeting at the Astoria on Tuesday residents against the plans were backed by Dr Peter Lucas, lecturer in bioethics at the University of Central Lancashire, who spoke out about ethical issues and Jane Jones, campaign director of the National Pure Water Association.
The Water Bill, currently being considered by Parliament, gives strategic health authorities the power to tell water companies to put fluoride in water in a move to improve dental health.
Not all speakers were against the plans, however. Dr Ellis Friedman, of Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Primary Care Trust, spoke in favour of the move after he claimed that people living in the area had one of the worst dental health records in the country.
He said in parts of the country where fluoride has been added, such as Birmingham, it has dramatically improved dental health.