“WE don’t want you to poison our water supply.”
That was the overwhelming message to health chiefs at the second drop-in session about plan to fluoridate tap water in Southampton.
A succession of concerned residents pressed officials on why they should have to accept risks of such mass medication and raised doubts over the fairness of the consultation.
Nearly all were against the plans, while most felt what they said would make no difference to the final decisions in February.
Southampton Primary Care Trust wants to introduce fluoride in a bid to improve the chronic dental health in poorer areas of Southampton after other measures have failed.
The authority says it is carrying out a balanced and open consultation before a decision goes to its board in February.
But administrator Sue Fletcher, 60, from Shirley Warren, said the event felt like a “brainwashing exercise”.
“This is a poison, it’s not the natural fluoride in water. It’s more poisonous than arsenic,” she said.
“I can see what they are trying to do but they are going about it the wrong way.”
Phil Conduit, 57, a lift engineer from Swaythling added: “I think they ought to target the families that have got bad teeth. If you cannot bring children up to brush their teeth you’re not bringing them up properly.”
Members of the Hampshire Against Fluoridation (HAF) claim the public consultation over plans to add the chemical to the water supply of nearly 200,000 city residents are too one-sided.
They say the health authority is selling fluoridation in a “soft way” by not giving the full picture.
Authority communications manager Graham Grovers admitted that some people were saying there should be more information about the arguments against fluoridation.
“But we need to be very clear about what our role is. It’s about coming into the community and gathering their views,” he added.
Three Question Time-style debates will follow to allow either side of the argument to make their points against each other.
The third drop-in session runs from noon to 8pm on Friday, September 26, at Northern Community Centre in Kent Street.