A consultation process under the Water Act 2003 was started in September 2008 for a new fluoridation scheme in the Southampton area. It ran until 19th December. There were protests about the biased consultation document produced by South Central Strategic Health Authority, with whom the final decision rested, and some changes were made as a result. An examination of the serious errors remaining can be found in the Reports section of this website.
Despite opposition from a large majority of those responding to the consultation, the SHA in February 2009 decided to proceed with the scheme. In the intervening year the protests have not ceased. On the anniversary of the decision a formal letter signed by many who deprecated the political and scientific approach of the SHA, including distinguished scientists and all local MPs, was handed in amid publicŽity to the offices of the Authority. This can be seen in the Archive section. A judicial review of the decision is in process, and should be heard in the course of this year.
Members of the All-Party Group have been active in tabling parliamentary questions on this and other aspects of fluoridation. SHAs in other parts of the country are watching the Southampton case before deciding whether to try and introduce their own schemes – this despite no serious moves being made to strengthen the weak evidence around fluoridation’s effectiveness and safety which was highlighted by the ‘York’ systematic review in 2000, and a major US scientific review in 2006 which cast further doubts on fluoridation. No new research has bolstered this case.
Additional letters to the SHA together with analyses by the Co-Chairman of the Group of some relevant evidence can now be found under Reports and Archive. In replies by the SHA Chief Executive no admissions of institutional bias were given, despite it being pointed out that every omission and error in the consultation docuŽment that had been drawn to their attention favoured fluoridation. SHA members will have been left with the impression that there is “no evidence of harm” in fluoridŽation, which the Government in a written parliamentary answer has conŽceded to be untrue. They have also been given a misleadingly low figure for children likely to have seriŽously discoloured teeth. The SHA Director of Communications has concedŽed that SHA members were told that the Scottish judge in a landmark case in 1983 had not found fluoride in water to be a medicinal product, when in fact he had.