Fluoride dispute could go to court

The long-running battle over plans to add fluoride to domestic water supplies in and around Southampton could be heading for a showdown in court.

Hampshire councils and the Government’s health agency are at odds over the controversial scheme.

Plans to put fluoride into the tap water of 200,000 residents in parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams were given the go-ahead in 2009.

The plans, which were initiated by the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA), sparked fierce resistance from campaigners.

They say there are unanswered questions over the health issues around drinking fluoride in tap water and that the people affected should be the ones to decide whether it is introduced or not.

The SHA, which was axed by the Government last year, had always argued introducing it would benefit public health and its successor organisation Public Health England (PHE) had vowed to plough on with the plans.

But following legal advice, Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry and Southampton City Council boss Simon Letts believe the scheme no longer exists due to the SHA’s failure to hand over vital documents to its sucessor the PHE.

They have been waiting for five months to find out what the Government and PHE’s appraisal of the situation was.

This week, PHE chiefs announced that although the paperwork was not completed, they still believed the fluoridation scheme existed.

Now, with neither side willing to budge, they are set for a legal battle.

Southampton City Council leader, Simon Letts, said: “There are two legal views about fluoridation. Until those legal points are tested in a court, we will be no further forward.”

He said fluoridation would not go ahead without a court ruling “At the very least, this has given us time to assess all of our options and even if a court eventually rules against us, I have already told PHE that a referendum should be held to determine whether it happens or not,” he said.

A spokesman for PHE would not confirm the threat of legal action, saying instead: “PHE is committed to working with partners on the key issue of oral health improvement, including the role of water fluoridation.

“PHE continues to give full and careful consideration to all the relevant factors relating to water fluoridation in Southampton and SW Hampshire and is still considering its position in relation to the scheme.”

Comments (4)

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9:08pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Hamsterley says...

This has been going on for at least 20 years. I left Romsey in 2002 and a decision was coming Anyone any idea when
This has been going on for at least 20 years. I left Romsey in 2002 and a decision was coming Anyone any idea when Hamsterley

10:30am Sat 18 Jan 14

Doug at UKCAF says...

Oh dear - here we go again! Drinking water is a food. Adding fluorosilicic acid to any food to increase its fluoride level has been prohibited under EU food law since 2010. The UK government failed to apply for special permission to continue using this illegal ingredient to drinking water by that date. So continuing to argue inteminably over whether or not there is an existing 'agreement' with the Water Company is yet more time-wasting - this can easily be reinstated by PHE anyway.
Why do not the Hampire Councils instead all get together and ask their Trading Standards Officers (and lawyers) to take a closer look at the legislation that actually forbids this practice?
Remember this - fluoridated water is NOT drin king water - it's a 'medicinal water. As such its quality is NOT subject to control under the Drinking Water Directive. So substituting fluoridated water for driking water takes away all of the protection for consumers afforded by that Directive. Are we really certain that we want to allow this alternative product to be delivered to our homes?
Stop procrastinating - English law is in conflict with European law, so demand that it be brought in line. That way, PHE will be forced to drop this lunatic scheme, and there can be no further arguments, anywhere!
Oh dear - here we go again! Drinking water is a food. Adding fluorosilicic acid to any food to increase its fluoride level has been prohibited under EU food law since 2010. The UK government failed to apply for special permission to continue using this illegal ingredient to drinking water by that date. So continuing to argue inteminably over whether or not there is an existing 'agreement' with the Water Company is yet more time-wasting - this can easily be reinstated by PHE anyway. Why do not the Hampire Councils instead all get together and ask their Trading Standards Officers (and lawyers) to take a closer look at the legislation that actually forbids this practice? Remember this - fluoridated water is NOT drin king water - it's a 'medicinal water. As such its quality is NOT subject to control under the Drinking Water Directive. So substituting fluoridated water for driking water takes away all of the protection for consumers afforded by that Directive. Are we really certain that we want to allow this alternative product to be delivered to our homes? Stop procrastinating - English law is in conflict with European law, so demand that it be brought in line. That way, PHE will be forced to drop this lunatic scheme, and there can be no further arguments, anywhere! Doug at UKCAF

12:00pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Cllr Chris says...

Absolutely agree with Doug Cross's comment. But the plainly devious British Government / Health Authorities (or - more likely - the poisonous fluoride waste producing corporations!) seem to have determined that at the point they add their poisonous industrial waste to the water is not yet a food (more like a mere "commodity" I guess?). It only becomes a food at the tap when the consumer "decides" to use it as a food. Personally I believe that is wrong - but it's the government we're fighting here; they stack all the decks to suit themselves. That's why I believe it's a reasonable idea to fight fluoridation on as many fronts as possible. They know they are wrong - wear them down!
Absolutely agree with Doug Cross's comment. But the plainly devious British Government / Health Authorities (or - more likely - the poisonous fluoride waste producing corporations!) seem to have determined that at the point they add their poisonous industrial waste to the water is not yet a food (more like a mere "commodity" I guess?). It only becomes a food at the tap when the consumer "decides" to use it as a food. Personally I believe that is wrong - but it's the government we're fighting here; they stack all the decks to suit themselves. That's why I believe it's a reasonable idea to fight fluoridation on as many fronts as possible. They know they are wrong - wear them down! Cllr Chris

6:26am Mon 20 Jan 14

D J McRae says...

I am pretty sure Doug Cross has the correct perspective on this when he says that fluoridated water is actually 'medicinal water' or a medicinal product. When you look at the outlandish claims that the governmental and dental bureaucrats make for fluoridated water it is clear that they consider it an extraordinarily powerful medicine!
So, should a medicinal product be piped into our homes via our kitchen and bathroom taps, or should normal water be piped in?
You would think that from a legal, or commonsense stance that what we should get from our kitchen and bathroom taps is water; water that is as close to being plain water as possible. Let's leave the medicating to each of individually, in consultation doctors or whomever we entrust with our personal health decisions.
I am pretty sure Doug Cross has the correct perspective on this when he says that fluoridated water is actually 'medicinal water' or a medicinal product. When you look at the outlandish claims that the governmental and dental bureaucrats make for fluoridated water it is clear that they consider it an extraordinarily powerful medicine! So, should a medicinal product be piped into our homes via our kitchen and bathroom taps, or should normal water be piped in? You would think that from a legal, or commonsense stance that what we should get from our kitchen and bathroom taps is water; water that is as close to being plain water as possible. Let's leave the medicating to each of individually, in consultation doctors or whomever we entrust with our personal health decisions. D J McRae

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