COUNCILLORS in Southampton are being urged to vow to oppose controversial plans to put fluoride in Hampshire tap water.
The city council will next week vote on calls to promise not to allow fluoridation to go ahead when it takes over responsibility for such schemes from unelected Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) when those bodies are scrapped in 2013.
Anti-fluoride campaigners have forced the motion on to the agenda through a petition demanding the authority removes the endorsement it gave to fluoride before health bosses decided to go ahead with the contentious plan two years ago.
Members of Hampshire Against Fluoridation (HAF) will be rallying ahead of Wednesday’s full council meeting, urging councillors to join their Hampshire County Council colleagues in opposing the plans.
The proposals affect nearly 200,000 people in parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams.
HAF chairman Stephen Peckham said: “The petition is asking the council to take a much, much stronger stance against water fluoridation.
“They’ve already, in a sense, expressed their concern over the SHA’s decision, but we would like them to go one step further and make an unequivocal statement rejecting any scheme. In 2013, they and the county (council) will be responsible for decisions about water fluoridation.
“It is important that they’re clear about where they stand on this, because if the SHA does go ahead (and introduce fluoridation), we want them to reverse the scheme.”
But before Wednesday’s meeting, campaigners will hear about successes in the fight against fluoride elsewhere in the world.
Professor Paul Connett, a leading opponent of fluoridation and an environmental chemistry academic, will speak at an open meeting tomorrow at Southampton Solent University’s Conference Centre.
Mr Peckham said: “We’ve asked Paul to talk about the fact there’s a growing number of places in North America that are removing fluoride, and he’ll talk more about the recent research that’s come out. While we think we’re fighting a lonely battle in Southampton, other people have taken the battle on and won by stopping fluoridation.”
Hampshire Against Fluoridation’s free meeting is open to all. It starts at 2.30pm in the Solent Conference Centre in the Sir James Matthews Building, Above Bar, Southampton.