FLUORIDE in our drinking water was today back at the top of Calderdale’s health agenda.
Councillors are seriously considering backing the controversial move after shock figures revealed the terrible state of the district’s teeth.
Moves to put the chemical in water have caused outrage in the past, with protesters saying it can cause cancer, lead to osteoporosis, make children ill and disclolour teeth.
If agreed by health bosses, fluoride could be in Calderdale’s water within three years. Last night the council’s health and social care scrutiny panel heard that a massive investigation into Calderdale’s oral health had come up with 25 recommendations.
They included support for a full review of fluoridisation.
Chairman of the committee Bob Metcalfe (Lab, Town) said: “This is a comprehensive report. Now we need to ensure it is distributed widely and acted upon.
“There are some wonderful benefits to adding fluoride to water. There could be an improvement, especially in the teeth of very young children. But we need to carefully look at both sides of this controversial issue.”
Peter Coles (Lib Dem, Luddenden Foot) added: “Oral health in Calderdale is bad. But this report recommends how we put things right.
“The fluoridation issue is controversial, at the very least. To ask people to accept it in Calderdale would be very difficult. I speak to people on the doorstep and it’s not popular. But it would have the biggest impact.”
Diane Park (Lib Dem, Elland) welcomed a debate on the subject. “I am a mother of four and all my children have wonderful teeth,” she said.
“I’m one of the people who don’t like the idea of adding anything to the water, so I would like a full
She said: “I find it very worrying there are so many children in Calderdale with such poor teeth.”
The report also recommends schools should get more involved in educating children about good oral health.
It also urges that oral health be included in training for school governors and head teachers should consider their policies about food and drinks in schools. Councillor Coles supported the role of schools.
He said: “Fluoridation is only one example. There are many ways schools could improve the health of their community.”
The importance of access to dental care for people in residential homes was also stressed.
And health bosses were urged to prioritise oral health services and ensure they were accessible, particularly in “vulnerable” areas such as Mixenden, where there was no dentist.
Now approved, the report will be forwarded to the council’s cabinet for discussion.