PROTESTERS were due to stage a rally later today after health bosses announced plans to take a step towards the fluoridation of Greater Manchester’s water supply.
Demonstrators from all over the region planned to target the offices of Leigh MP Andy Burnham, a supporter of the plan, to raise concern over what they claim is the “mass-medication” of the region.
The march is in response to the appearance of a job advert seeking to recruit a £40,000-a-year director of the Manchester Fluoridation Alliance.
Steve Clark, of Manchester Against Fluoridation, has called the move to create the new post a “slap in the face for the people of Greater Manchester.”
He said: “Manchester is being targeted as the next place to fluoridate, even though we were told there would be a full consultation on this issue before any go ahead.
“Fluoridation is illegal under the 1972 Poisons Act and is taking away our choice. Dentists are using scare mongering tactics by telling us that non-fluoridation is harming our children’s teeth, but this is just a scam.”
Campaigners say that fluoride – its chemical name is hexafluorosilicic acid – is an industrial toxic waste and poison that has been linked to osteoporosis and bone cancer.
The £40,000-a-year job has been advertised by bosses at Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust, which represents all 19 PCTs across the region on the issue.
They say all the PCTs support fluoridation of the region’s water supply, believing the move can only be beneficial. .
They want to encourage the addition of fluoride to reduce and prevent dental decay amongchildren and adults across the region. Julie Hotchkiss, director of public health at the trust, said: “We are very committed to improving dental health across Greater Manchester.
“It is amazing how anti-fluoride lobby groups have stirred this up. There is absolutely no evidence that fluoridation of water causes ill health. ”
Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh, said: “I am a staunch supporter of the fluoridation of the water.
“People have the right to express their view, but the evidence overwhelmingly shows that water fluoridation is 100 per cent safe and an effective method of improving dental health.”
A spokesman for water company United Utilities said: “A strategic health authority, following public consultation, can instruct a water company to fluoridate supplies and the company will have no choice in the matter, assuming it is feasible. To date we have not received an instruction.”