Fluoride Action Network

Southampton: Strategic Health Authority did not evaluate arguments against fluoride

Source: Daily Echo | Education Reporter
Posted on January 19th, 2011
Location: United Kingdom, England

HEALTH bosses failed to properly evaluate key arguments against fluoridating water before approving a controversial scheme for Hampshire, a court heard.

Barrister David Wolfe, who is representing the Southampton residents challenging South Central Strategic Health Authority’s decision to add fluoride to tap water, argued that points raised by opponents had not been assessed in the way they should have been.

He told a judicial review that under government guidelines, health bosses were required to consider the cogency of arguments to decide if they made strong points and were based on scientifically-proven evidence.

Mr Wolfe said many of the key reasons health bosses want to add were challenged during a public consultation.

But, he said, the individual board members were not properly informed of what those criticisms were or the evidence on which they were based.

He said: “The cogency of the arguments needed to be before the board members and they needed to evaluate them.

“Important arguments were raised by the consultees, which were either not conveyed to the board at all or in the most pithy terms, without the supporting material to allow them to evaluate the cogency of the arguments.”

Day one of the two-day hearing heard Mr Wolfe lay out the case on which the judicial review is being fought.

Tomorrow, barristers for the SHA and the secretary of state for health will respond to those claims.

It is expected the judge, Mr Justice Holman, will then defer his judgement.