Fluoride Action Network

Southampton: Chris Huhne sides with anti-fluoride campaign

Source: Daily Echo | December 12th, 2008 | By Lucy Clark
Location: United Kingdom, England

A HAMPSHIRE MP has added his voice to the campaign against adding fluoride to Southampton’s water supplies.

As the debate on fluoridation for the city moves into its final week, Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne has spoken out against the controversial proposals.

He has submitted a formal objection to fluoridation to the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA), stating that adding the chemical to the tap water of the majority of Southampton and Eastleigh removes people’s choice.

Southampton health chiefs want to see fluoride added to the water to boost poor dental health among children in the city, but Mr Huhne states there are no conclusive arguments for or against water fluoridation and, therefore, he does not support it.

He said: “My concern with the proposal is that evidence both in favour of and against the fluoridation of water supplies is largely inconclusive. Similarly, research into the possible negative side effects has also, to my mind, not been proven to be conclusive.

“My conclusion is therefore that the case for fluoridation is not compelling, and it should not be undertaken.

“Whilst I am not against the principle of fluoridation as a method for improving dental health, neither the benefits nor the potential side effects of water fluoridation have been proved and I believe, in such a situation, the only justifiable course of action is to take no action at all.”

Mr Huhne also cites environmental considerations as concerns, as Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has raised concerns about hexafluorosilicic acid – a chemical commonly used in water fluoridation – being added to the water supply.

The trust argues that it could pose a risk to the environment because it releases hydrogen fluoride when it evaporates, which can be corrosive.

There is just one week left to have your say on the proposals to fluoridate the water supply of nearly 200,000 residents in and around Southampton.

More than 6,000 people have officially submitted their views to South Central SHA, which will make a final decision in February.

The public consultation on fluoridation for Southampton ends next Friday, December 19. Comments can be submitted by letter, online or by email.