On Thursday June 12th 2008 the IOM DHSS announced via press release that they have officially abandoned all plans to fluoridate the Manx water supply, the decision was backed by the Council of Ministers.

The efforts to fluoridate the Manx water supply began back in September 2003 so this represents the end of a 5 year battle.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all who have contributed to this massive success especially John Graham, Dr Paul Connett, Grant McPherson, Quintin Gill MHK, George Glasser, Doug Cross, Liz Vaughan, Ian Packington, Dr Peter Mansfield, David Gear, Doug & Manna Bairstow, Dawn Taylor, Dr Hans Moolenburgh, Walter Graham, Robert Pocock, Mary Hillary, Bruce Spittle, Dr A.K. Susheela, Jane Barham, Dr Adam Standring, Cathy and Wayne Justus, Janet Bridle, Leslie Hanson, Dr Mark Draper, Elizabeth McDonagh, PSM Commissioners, Ramsey Commissioners, IOM F.O.E., Glynne, Krista, Graham, Eva and to the many other concerned Manx citizens and organisations who helped by handing out leaflets, spreading the word on the issue, writing letters to the press and government, making calls to the radio, voting ‘no’ in the poll and by donating funds to the campaign. Also thanks to our friends and family for putting up with all that a long campaign brings.

We would like to dedicate this victory for common sense and democracy to you all and in memory of Jane Jones of the NPWA who was so helpful and inspiring in the early days of our campaign.

Thank you all

Kevin Glynn & Greeba Skinner
Save(d) Our Water, Isle of Man

The Executive Committee of National Pure Water Association would like to congratulate Kevin & Greeba on their victory. The acknowledgment of all who contributed is much appreciated.



Department of Health and Social Security
Isle of Man


Thursday, 12th June 2008


Media Release – DHSS listens to public opinion on fluoridation

Following an extensive consultation process, the Department of Health and Social Security today recommended to the Council of Ministers not to proceed with fluoridating the Island’s water. The Council of Minister’s have accepted this recommendation.

The issue of fluoridating water has been proposed by various professional bodies and the Health Services Consultative Committee for many years. The Director of Public Health has a statutory duty to raise matters of concern brought to the attention of the Public Health Directorate, with the Department. In order to assess public opinion regarding the addition of fluoride to the Island’s water, the Department entered into a public debate. This consultation process has been very helpful to the Department, as it has established current public opinion and helped to highlight the poor level of dental health among our children.

Independent market researchers, GfK NOP, conducted a comprehensive survey on 12-15th May 2008. A random sample of 1000 Island residents were interviewed and all age groups 18 and over were represented. Results showed that a majority of respondents (54%) were opposed to fluoridation.

Hon W.E. Teare MHK, Minister for Health and Social Security said, “The poll has highlighted some important issues for the Department to consider. Particularly in respect of the level of awareness amongst those polled of the rate of tooth decay and the general state of dental health in the Isle of Man compared to the UK.”

The Minister continued, “In reporting the outcome of the telephone poll, the Department wants to assure the public that their views have been listened to. The poll results have shown that the majority of respondents are opposed to fluoridation of water in the Isle of Man. On that basis the Department accepts the results and will not continue with proposing fluoridation of the water in the near future, but will concentrate efforts in the coming years to further develop health promotion activity with regard to improving the dental health of everyone living in the Isle of Man.”


– ENDS –


Department of Health and Social Security
Isle of Man



The survey was conducted using telephone interviewing with a Random Digit Dialling (RDD) sample. A specialist supplier was used to supply a random sample of numbers derived from all possible numbers known to exist on the Isle of Man. Because the sample is not drawn from telephone directories, ex-directory numbers are included as well as listed numbers. Numbers were not cross-checked against the Telephone Preference Service, as this do-not-call list concerns marketing calls, not market research calls.

Because some age and gender groups are more difficult to get hold of on the telephone, quota controls were set to minimise the bias that would result from these differences in availability. Quota controls were set for age and gender, based on data from the last Isle of Man census.

Interviewing was conducted from GfK NOP’s telephone interviewing centre in Luton, by members of the panel of fully trained interviewers. All interviewers received a personal briefing about the survey before starting work.

Interviewing took place from 12-18 May, and 1,000 interviews were conducted in total. The achieved sample matched the Census figure to within 1%, and so no corrective weighting was carried out.

Because of the use of quotas, it is not technically correct to use sampling errors, but experience of election polls shows that in practice random sample sampling errors provide a reasonable indicator for quota samples. With this caveat in mind, and given the 1,000 sample size, the sampling error on a finding around 50% would be +/- 3%, while on a finding of around 25% or 75% it would be around +/- 2.5%.


Q1 Do you think tooth decay rates on the Isle of Man are above the average UK level, below it, or about the same?


Base: All respondents = 1000


Above average 22
Below average 9
About the same 41
Don’t know 28


There was low awareness of the relative state of the island’s teeth in comparison with the UK. Although it is true that twice as many gave the correct answer – that tooth decay is more prevalent on the Isle of Man than the national average – as gave the incorrect one, only one in five of all respondents gave the correct answer.

The biggest group were the 41% who thought tooth decay on the Isle of Man was the same as in the rest of the UK, and the next biggest the 28% who admitted they didn’t know. It is likely that the former group also contained many people who didn’t really know – asked a question like that to which one doesn’t know the answer; “about the same” is a sensible guess.

Just 22% stated that tooth decay is more prevalent on the Isle of Man, while 9% thought it was less than the UK average.

There was no difference between men and women on this question. Older respondents were less likely that younger ones to say tooth decay was above average, but they were also less likely to say below average – this is basically a function of their greater propensity to say don’t know. There was, however, a significant difference between those with and without children under 16. Those with children were more likely to say decay rates were higher on the Isle of Man.

Q2 In fact tooth decay levels on the Isle of Man are considerably higher than the average UK level. In many countries, and in some parts of the UK, fluoride is added to the water supply to try to reduce tooth decay. Many scientists and most professional medical and dental organisations believe adding fluoride to water is a good way to reduce tooth decay, but some other scientists claim that adding fluoride to water has little effect on tooth decay, and is a risk to people’s health. Would you personally favour or oppose fluoride being added to the water in the Isle of Man?

Base: All respondents = 1000


Strongly favour 12
Favour 17
Neither favour nor oppose
Oppose 19
Strongly oppose 35
Don’t know 3


When asked about their own support for fluoridation, just over half (54%) were either opposed or strongly opposed, while 29% favoured or strongly favoured it and a further 14% were neither opposed or in favour. Not only were there more who opposed it – those opposed felt more strongly about it. While those in favour split fairly evenly between those favouring and strongly favouring fluoridation, those against split almost two to one strongly against.

Men were more likely to support fluoridation than women – 32% of men were in favour, compared with 25% of women – and they were also less likely to be opposed – 52% of men compared with 58% of women.

There was again an age differential, but this time it was the 35-54 age group who stood out. They were slightly (but not significantly) more in favour of fluoridation than the under-35s, and considerably more so than the over-55s.

Those with children in the household were more likely to be in favour of fluoridation than those without, possibly reflecting a greater concern for the dental health of their children, but even among this group those opposing fluoridation outweighed those supporting it by 48% to 33%.

Those who were aware that tooth decay levels are higher on the Isle of Man than the UK average were much more likely to support fluoridation than other groups, presumably because they felt it would be efficacious. Although there were relatively fewer thinking tooth decay is lower on the Isle of Man than the average, meaning the results must be treated with some caution, it is noticeable that this group was by far the most strongly opposed to fluoridation. Among this group fully 64% of this group were opposed, while only 48% of those aware that
rates on the island are actually higher were opposed.

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