ONE of the world’s leading experts on fluoride paid a flying visit to Southampton to join in the Great Fluoride Debate.

Dr Paul Connett is vehemently opposed to fluoridation and has jetted into the city all the way from his home in New York to add his powerful voice to the consultation on plans to add fluoride to the city’s tap water.

Southampton City Primary Care Trust wants to see the city’s water supplies fluoridated to improve dental health.

Dr Connett, director of Fluoride Action Network and a retired professor of chemistry at St Lawrence University in New York State, has spoken at conferences worldwide on fluoride since he began researching its health impact 12 years ago.

Most of the United States’ water supplies are fluoridated in a medical practice designed to improve children’s dental health.

Dr Connett told the Daily Echo: “Fluoridation is a clumsy form of medication. It’s attractive because you do not have to take any trouble to educate parents.

“But you are giving it to people who are sensitive to it and people who don’t want it. That’s very arrogant.

“There is a far stronger relationship between tooth decay and standard of living than you will ever find between tooth decay and fluoride.

Fluoride lowers IQ “The answer should be to target the kids that are most vulnerable, in low income families, and make sure the pregnant women in these areas are getting a good diet.”

Dr Connett is keen to see in-depth studies into fluoridation’s side effects.

“Fluoridation is an American crackpot idea from the 1950s,” he said. “It was a huge gamble. They knew one thing in 1950 and that was that if they put fluoride in the water, it would increase the number of children with dental fluorosis, which they thought was an acceptable trade off. The gamble was whether fluoride could do that to the growing teeth cells without damaging any other tissue.

“Countries that have had fluoridation since 1950 have never done the basic studies to check this hypothesis out.

“The other half of the scandal is that countries that have not done studies are ignoring studies from countries that do not fluoridate their water but have naturally high levels of fluoride.

“Fluoride causes health problems, damaging the bones and the brain. There have also been 23 studies done in China, India, Iran and Mexico showing fluoride lowers IQ levels in children.

“The health experts say they have been fluoridating for 50 years and if there were any problems we would know about them by now. But if you don’t study it properly, you don’t notice the subtle changes.

“No British authorities are studying the link between fluoride and lower IQ levels, and they are ignoring all the studies from the other countries.”

Dr Connett called for an open debate: “Now is the time to challenge the strategic health authority to demonstrate objectivity by having a balanced debate. I am prepared to do it.”