Anti-fluoride campaigners take to High Court - Printable Version

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Anti-fluoride campaigners take to High Court - TriWooOx - 01-19-2011

Quote:They say they will have "no choice" but to drink fluoridated water if South Central Strategic Health Authority (SCSHA) is allowed to add it.

The potential side-effects, they argue, range from bone cancer, heart problems, thyroid problems and dental fluorosis, brown spots on the teeth.

SCSHA wants to add the chemical to supplies in Southampton and parts of south west Hampshire, arguing it is the best way to cut tooth decay, particularly in poorer children.

Public health experts fiercely dispute that fluoridation causes any health problem other than dental fluorosis in a small number of people.

About 5.5 million people in Britain, just less than a tenth of the population, drink fluoridated tap water, including most of Birmingham. However, no area has had fluoride added to its supply in the last 20 years.

Yesterday's (WED) legal challenge centred not on the health questions but on the legality of the process that the health authority has followed.

In February 2009 SCSHA instructed Southern Water to fluoridate the supply in an area covering about 195,000 people.

That came despite 72 per cent of respondents to a public consultation opposing the measure.

An opinion poll commissioned by the SCSHA produced a narrower result, with 38 per cent against the scheme, 32 per cent in favour and 29 per cent "don't knows".

The challenge has been brought by Geraldine Milner, a mother of three from Southampton, who is backed by campaign groups.

David Wolfe, acting for Ms Milner, said that if the scheme went ahead she and others would be left "with no choice but to drink water to which fluoride has been added".

He accused the health authority of unlawfully attempting to force through fluoridation and failing in its legal obligation to assess the arguments for and against it.

Mr Wolfe said: "Four out of five local authorities and three out of four local MPs expressed their opposition within the consultation process. Ms Milner is in good company, whether she is right or wrong."

John Howell, QC, for the SCSHA, said the authority was not legally bound to follow the results of any consultation.

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, demonstrators said there was "huge controversy" over water fluoridation.

Stephen Peckham, chairman of Hampshire Against Fluoridation, said countries including Canada, Ireland and the US were "actually lowering the amount of fluoride" because of health concerns, particularly over dental fluorosis.

Elizabeth McDonagh, chairman of the National Pure Water Association, said there were serious questions over whether fluoridation raised the risk of bone growth abnormalities, arthritic pains, hormonal problems with the thyroid gland, and osteosarcoma.

"It is a very insidious poison in my opinion," she said, adding: "It is absolutely clear, the SCSHA wholly ignored local people's views."

Ms Milner said: "It is about Southampton residents' fundamental freedom of choice over their bodies and rights to democracy and justice."

According to the British Fluoridation Society, adding one part fluoride per a million parts of water cuts the number of decayed, missing and filled teeth by 2.25 teeth per child on average. The greatest benefit is among children in deprived areas. A long-term American study of 2.3 million deaths found no link between fluoridation and cancer, it said.

RE: Anti-fluoride campaigners take to High Court - Dunamis - 01-20-2011

Always great to see people kicking against the systems door and making their voices heard. And for the Telegraph to have covered this, they must have really been making a noise!