Fluoride Action Network

Southampton: Fluoride book to be changed after criticism

Source: ThisIsHampshire.net | July 25th, 2008 | By Jon Reeve
Location: United Kingdom, England

HEALTH chiefs have admitted that information due to be given to the public about fluoridating water supplies was unfairly balanced in favour of the scheme.

An education booklet containing arguments for and against the plan to put fluoride in tap water will now be changed after criticism it was biased.

Anti-fluoridation campaigners have already accused the South Central Strategic Health Authority, which will ultimately decide whether to give the plan to fluoridate water to 20,000 homes in Southampton and Hampshire the green light, of peddling propaganda.

Yesterday, the SHA board agreed to change documents designed to inform residents about fluoride during the consultation, after hearing feedback suggesting they don’t fairly represent both sides.

Director of communications and corporate affairs, Olga Senior said focus groups felt the literature gives a good case for fluoridation, but failed to provide reasons against it.

“The feedback told us if what you want to do is give balance, you haven’t done that,” she said.

The pro-fluoridation group bases its arguments on science. The group against also bases its argument on reports and science.

“What doesn’t seem to have come out at this stage is that balance.”

The board agreed at the meeting to put consultation back two weeks to change the literature.

Board chairman, Dr Geoffrey Harris said: “We do need to be assured that in the public consultation document we are not closing down one side of the argument.”

As revealed in the Daily Echo, Hampshire Against Fluoridation has lodged a formal complaint with the authority, saying the decision to take the issue to a public consultation was based on flawed facts.

Chairman John Spottis-woode has demanded the process be abandoned, because he believes evidence showing negative effects of fluoridation has been ignored.

Mr Spottiswoode last night welcomed the move to revise the literature.

The consultation will run until December 19, and the SHA board will make a final decision at a special meeting in February.