Fluoride Action Network

Southampton: Make sure you have your say on fluoride

Source: Daily Echo | June 6th, 2008 | By Jon Reeve
Location: United Kingdom, England

IT’S one of the most contentious issues to hit Southampton in years – and you haven’t been slow to voice your opinions.

To fluoride or not to fluoride – that is the controversial question that has had Daily Echo readers voting in their thousands.

Votes are still coming thick and fast as residents have their say on plans to add fluoride to Southampton’s tap water supplies.

There has been such a response to the Daily Echo poll that we have extended the deadline for people to make their opinions heard and included a selection of your letters and emails on these pages.

Our snapshot is designed to gauge feelings ahead of a three-month public consultation due to be launched by South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) in August.

That is because city health chiefs want the levels of fluoride to be topped up in water delivered to 160,000 Southampton residents, and another 36,000 people who live beyond its boundaries.

The plan is designed to improve chronic levels of tooth decay experienced by children in more deprived areas of the city.

Dr Jeyanthi John, Southampton City Primary Care Trust’s consultant in public dental health, said: “It will benefit everyone.

“We’re talking about people having teeth taken out, about people having to go under general anaesthesia for operations, the problems of people having to take time off work or children being out of school – all these things are helped, not just decay levels.”

But campaigners insist fluoride is dangerous, and adding it to tap water could lead to serious health problems.

“The information currently on offer is inadequate, biased and even untrue,” said Ann Richards, of Hampshire Against Fluoridation.

“Fluoride proponents rely largely for their misinformation on the British Fluoridation Society, which in the 1980s gave its longterm aim as fluoridation of all water supplies’ and wants manufacturers to promote fluoride on their products.

“This is simply not evenhanded and people should not believe everything they are told by health authorities.”