LIVERPOOL City Council is locked on a collision course with the regional health authority over fluoride in water supplies.
The council is set to pass a motion condemning the fluoride used in water supplies as being a pesticide.
It is also expected to relaunch the school dental service in secondary schools as a better way of improving dental health in children.
The motion calls on council chief executive David Henshaw to inform Merseyside and Cheshire Strategic Health Authority and all local primary care trusts that “means other than the deliberate addition of pesticides to our drinking water” should be used to improve tooth care.
In contrast, Professor John Ashton, regional director of public health, is a supporter of fuoridating water supplies.
Around 10% of UK water is currently fluoridated and the Water Bill passed by the government last year opened the way for RHAs to go out to consultation on fluoridation.
As yet nothing has been brought forward by Merseyside and Cheshire but opponents of fluoridation believe it is only a matter of time.
Liverpool cabinet member Paul Clein, a pharmacist who has published a number of articles criticising fluoridation, wants people to be aware of what is being added to drinking supplies.
He said: “The hexafluorosilicic acid which is the stuff they want to put in our water has to be given an exemption from the control of pesticides regulations, that makes it a pesticide.
“This stuff is dangerous and there is no evidence of its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay.
“I have called for the secondary school dental service to be brought back to its pre-1998 levels and colleagues are supportive of that.
“It seems strange that, at the moment, we look after young children’s teeth in primary school but not those in secondary school who have the teeth they must use for the rest of their lives. ”
Currently, the Merseyside and Cheshire SHA has not stuck its head above the parapet and suggested fluoridation.
An SHA spokeswoman said: “The current situation regarding fluoridation is that the Water Bill gave the SHA powers to take a decision on whether to fluoridate water.
“However, before such a decision could be taken — a process of consultation would have to be undertaken.
“The SHA does not currently have a policy on fluoridation. It has not been discussed by the board. ”
But Prof John Ashton, the regional director of public health, believes the region must not miss this opportunity to improve dental health.
He said: “We currently have the worst children’s dental health in the country along with Salford and a couple of other places.
“In terms of it being a pesticide, there are lots of things in health care which are advantageous in small levels but dangerous in large amounts.
“For instance, we put vitamin D into flour and bread because it helps prevents rickets, but in large amounts it is a poison. Do they want us to take that out aswell? We have the evidence from the West Midlands and Tyneside that there are no serious side effects. ”
But Dr Vivyan Howard, an expert in chemicals and infant health at Liverpool University, is backing the council’s plans to fight against fluoridation.
Last night he said: “This is excellent news. I can’t see the justification for mass medicating a local population with a substance which everybody acknowledges if you have too much is toxic.
“That is particularly true of young children.
“There was a recent study in Ireland where they do fluoridate which showed that babies fed on milk formula made using tap water were getting overdosed.
“This one size fits all approach is wrong. Smaller people are more at risk from certain levels than bigger people.
” “Applying fluoride on the surface of teeth is effective but it does not work systematically.
“We should have a far more sensible approach like banning soft drinks machines in schools. Fluoridation is a ridiculous idea. “