Water Fluroridation Scheme sets a 'Worrying Precedent' Says South East MEP

7 March 2009

Southampton's Green MEP Caroline Lucas has slammed the decision to fluoridate the water supply in Southampton, warning the region's health authorities are "setting a reckless precedent" for future fluoridation schemes across the South East.

She said "This ill-advised decision to implement water fluoridation in Southampton demonstrates contempt for the views of many local people - and for the evidence against fluoridation itself."

Last year the European Commission admitted that the potential risks from adding fluoride to an entire water supply are not yet fully understood. Dr Lucas says it's unwise to expose people to a mass-medicating process which has never been risk-assessed.

Rather than MASS fluoridation, which is aimed at reducing tooth decay, Dr Lucas called for the UK Government to use more TARGETTED schemes like providing free toothpaste for poor families.

A recent Freedom of Information request (1) revealed that 76% of Southampton's NHS dentists are not taking new patients.

And the controversial Southampton decision came on the very day that new dentistry data was released, which showed that less than half of adults are using NHS dentists and the proportion of children accessing NHS dentistry in Southampton has fallen by 2.4% over the past two years (2).

Caroline Lucas has vowed to question her colleagues on the European Parliament's Environment Committee about the Commission's "weak position" on fluoridation plans like the one in Southampton.

Notes:

1. FOI response to the Green Party dated 3rd Feb 2009 showed that of Southampton PCT's 25 NHS dental practices only 6 were accepting new
patients in December 2008.

2. See http://www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/primary-care/dentistry/nhs-dental-statistics-for-england-quarter-2:-30-september-2008.

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