HEALTH chiefs are urging residents and workers in those areas that could be set to receive fluoridated water to make the most of a series of drop-in events being held during the official public consultation period.
The sessions, which begin in Bitterne on September 18, will give people the opportunity to talk to experts, and give their feedback on the contentious scheme.
They are being held by South Central Strategic Health Authority – the body charged with independently overseeing the consultation – in a bid to help people understand the complex argu ments for and against fluoride.
But anti-fluoride campaigners criticised the planned events as one-sided, and have expressed their frustrations at being told they cannot give their own presentations at the sessions.
Each of the sessions will run from noon until 8pm, in the hope of allowing as many people as possible the opportunity to attend.
Senior SHA staff will be on hand, supported by other colleagues.
“We want as many people to come to these centres as possible,” said SHA spokesman Graham Groves.
“We will also have display boards with detailed information, the consultation documents and other literature.
“Members of the public can approach the staff there to find out more about the consultation process and we’ll try to answer any questions they have.
“This is a public consultation, so we do need the views of people who live and work in Southampton and the wider area in question.
“We’ll have forms people can fill in and leave with us to give their opinions. Those who don’t want to contribute at the time will be able to take them away with the email address or phone number, so they can submit their comments at a time that suits them.
Chairman of Hampshire Against Fluoridation John Spottiswoode said the refusal to let his organisation present at the drop-in events is further evidence the consultation is a “sham”.
“The material produced so far by the health authorities is a disgrace. It is so one-sided and biased that it gives a completely false picture of what fluoride is doing,” he said.
“The health authorities are seeking to fool people into supporting water fluoridation by producing a stream of one-sided propaganda that does not take account of the re-search showing major negative health side-effects.”