THE water fluoridation debate comes to Winchester today (September 25) as Hampshire County Council contributes to the consultation by the South Central Strategic Health Authority.
Southampton City Primary Care Trust has launched proposals to add fluoride to drinking supplies in Southampton and South West Hampshire to lower tooth decay rates in children.
Hampshire County Council leader Ken Thornber, has asked the council’s health overview and scrutiny committee to consider the matter and to report back on November 20 when the council will agree its formal response.
Evidence will be gathered by a panel of elected councillors during two, day-long hearings in the Council Chamber in Winchester today and again on October 6.
The panels will explore stakeholder views on seven key themes: improving oral health; the ethics of adding fluoride to water; the impact on health; alternatives to fluoride in water; exposure to fluoride; the nature of fluoride and legal and technical considerations.
It will receive presentations from witnesses representing a range of different interest groups including: Southampton City Primary Care Trust, Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Hampshire Against Fluoridation, British Fluoridation Society, UK Councils against Fluoridation, National Pure Water Association and Hampshire Local Dental Committee.
Councillor Mrs Anna McNair-Scott, chairman of the scrutiny committee, said: “There are wide-ranging views on what is a highly contentious issue and one which has intense local interest. It is essential that there is a constructive and informed debate; that we hear about all of the known possible benefits and potential harms so that the county council can balance the arguments for and against when it forms its response to the consultation.”