Further to a health report that recommends the “mass fluoridation” of water in the UK.
It is cheap, costing about 40p per resident per year in areas where it is done, and, according to Public Health England, effective at preventing tooth decay. And yet there has been no new scheme for 25 years. Why?
The most recent attempt to fluoridate water – in Hampshire – offers some clues. The health authority instructed the local water company to fluoridate supplies in 2009 for 200,000 residents in and around Southampton amid concern about high rates of tooth decay.
But the move was met by vigorous opposition. A resident took the health authority to court and the local councils turned against the idea.
They question whether it is right that the state should make such decisions without gaining informed consent, saying fluoride is effectively a medicine and therefore people should be given a choice over whether to take it….
“…So where should the line should be drawn? History tells us the answer is not always immediately clear. Looking back, there was huge debate over interventions that have now been widely accepted, such as the seat belt laws and, more recently, the ban on smoking in public places…..”
Ireland, of course, is one of only two countries in the world with mandatory fluoridation.
So how’s that been working out for us?