The Strategic Health Authority does not consider this consultation scientifically reliable on the grounds that people chose to reply in an ad hoc way. As a more scientific method, they ran a telephone poll of 2060 people which was designed to be representative of the gender, ethnic, economic and work status mix in the area. The results fell roughly into thirds with just less than a 1/3 (32%) FOR fluoridation, about 6% more (38%) AGAINST fluoridation, 19% neither supported nor opposed and the rest (10%) ‘didn’t know’.
In the face of majority opposition, the SCSHA Board voted unanimously on 26 February 2009 to instruct Southern Water to fluoridate. This is a disgrace which shows that, from the beginning, the consultation was a sham and a huge waste of public money. £178,000 was allocated for the Consultation and we understand that in excess of £140,000 has been spent.
In the DRAFT Consultation Regulations 2004, Regulation 5 states:
“Strategic Health Authority shall not proceed with any step regarding fluoridation arrangements that falls within section 89(2) of the Act unless the representations made by individuals affected and bodies with an interest are predominantly in support of it.”
However, in the final version of the Statutory Instrument the wording was changed. Statutory Instrument 2005 No 291 The Water Fluoridation (Consultation) (England) Regulations, Regulation 5, reads:
“A Strategic Health Authority shall not proceed with any step regarding fluoridation arrangements that falls within section 89(2) of the Act unless, having regard to the extent of support for the proposal and the cogency of the arguments advanced, the Authority is satisfied that the health arguments in favour of proceeding with the proposal outweigh all arguments against proceeding.”
The above wording was approved in the House of Lords on 8 March 2005. Some statements made during the Lords debate are of interest. Lord Warner, introducing Regulation 5, said:
“Let me dispel any suggestion, however, that we have diluted our commitment that fluoridation schemes would only be introduced where the local population were in favour.”
However, he immediately qualified this with the following words:
“Regulation 5 requires SHAs to take account of the extent of support for their proposals. They must also consider the cogency of the arguments. There is a host of disinformation put around about fluoridation, which is likely to be recycled in consultations. In the past, the department has received identical standard letters, all citing an association between fluoridation and commonly-occurring illnesses or disabilities, for which there is no published research evidence. The SHA needs to scrutinise the responses received and weigh the arguments in favour of proceeding with those against.” [Lords Hansard, 8 March 2005, Column 706].
Lord Colwyn, a practising dental surgeon and long-term promoter of fluoridation said:
“When we last discussed fluoridation in July 2003, as an amendment to the Water Bill, there were many of the usual speeches from the usual suspects.” The noble Lord, Lord Warner, concluded by saying: “We shall continue with our research programme . . . and monitor the outcome of the research conducted in other countries . . . We have made the regulations under which we want any new local consultations to be conducted”. He went on: “In a nutshell, the amendment”—that we were talking about at the time—”provides for local communities, after consultation, and after an informed discussion, to take steps to give their strategic health authorities a clear message that they want their water to be fluoridated. On the evidence that I have heard today, I do not see a case for denying those communities that choice.” [Lords Hansard, 8 March 2005, Column 711]
The possibility that a community would vote against their water being fluoridated seems not to have been contemplated. Later in the debate, Lord Warner again spoke:
“The Government have no intention of imposing fluoridation in any area. Our policy throughout has been that decisions must be taken locally, following well informed consultation on the issues involved.
The noble Earl, Lord Howe, raised issues about the strategic health authority being required to show a majority in favour. As I have tried to say, we do not consider a head count alone is the most appropriate means of reaching a decision. The noble Earl raised the question of what happens if only 20 per cent of residents respond? The strategic health authority will have to look at the issues and weigh the responses from the interested bodies to ensure that the weight of opinion is in favour. I would argue that that is a demanding requirement.” [Column 717]
Whatever the intention of the House of Lords in approving the Statutory Instrument, the wording of it has allowed South Central SHA to disregard the views of local people and take the unanimous decision to fluoridate in spite of majority local opposition.
Fluoride is known to cause harm to humans and animals, even at 1 ppm. Fluoridation gives no control of any individual’s dose because some people drink more than others.
Also some people are more susceptible to fluoride’s toxic effects. 1 ppm gives no adequate margin of safety to protect vulnerable subsets of the population.
Every member of the SCSHA Board is responsible for any adverse effects from fluoridation. They will not be able to shelter behind the defence that the public asked for fluoridation, nor behind the excuse that they were not informed of the harmful effects of fluoride, especially on vulnerable subsets of the population.
National Pure Water Association’s campaign will continue until fluoridation legislation is repealed. Together with other anti-fluoridation groups, we are considering a variety of ways in which the affected population could respond to the situation in which they now find themselves. We are also taking legal advice and raising money to enable court action to legally challenge the thoroughly discredited practice that is fluoridation.