More than half the people living in Leicestershire would not want fluoride added to the water system, according to a snapshot survey.
Dozens of people have written to the Leicester Mercury expressing their fears over the issue. Their opinions have been gauged as we continue our Great Fluoride Debate. All this week, we asked shoppers in Leicester whether they would support moves to add fluoride into the county’s water supply.
In the survey of 200 people, 116 said no to having fluoride in the water and 84 said yes.
Sue King from Blaby, an anti-fluoride campaigner for more than a decade, said the findings of our survey supported her views that people do not want their water treated.
“I am pleased with the result because it was off the cuff,” she said.
“No body can accuse these people of having an axe to grind.”
Fluoridated water has been one of the most controversial public health measures in the last 50 years.
Supporters say it prevents tooth decay, which is still a big problem in deprived areas.
However, campaigners fear the long-term effects of adding what they consider is a poison.
They fear it could be linked to arthritis and bone cancer as well as stomach problems. Public dental health experts argue there is no evidence of this.
The letters the Mercury received showed the level of public concern over the proposal.
Among the 40-plus letters we received was a letter from Sheila Moody, of Oadby.
She wrote: “It is mass medication of the worst kind. I feel my human rights to choice have been affected.”
In another letter, Cathy Beck wrote: “It takes away our freedom of choice and our own ability to manage our own health.
“I think it’s a very frightening prospect.”
Leicestershire’s water has remained fluoride-free for 14 years, despite the former health authority voting in support of the move back in 1989.
At the time water company Severn Trent said it could not be done for technical reasons.
Now, the Government is looking at a Water Bill which includes an amendment preventing water companies from vetoing health authority decisions.
The bill is expected to become law in the autumn.
At present, around 10 per cent of the population receive fluoridated water supplies, but the Government expects this to increase to around a third.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “There is no intention to fluoridate the whole country.
“No area will fluoridate its water supply without having undertaken proper consultation to ensure that the measure has strong local support.”