Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Green MEP writes to Health Authority

caroline lucas
See the letter earlier this year from Caroline Lucas, Green Party Member of the European Parliament for the South East of the UK:

Dr Geoffrey Harris
Chairman NHS South Central Strategic Health Authority
Oakley Road, Southampton SO16 4GX

18th March 2008

Dear Dr Harris

Water fluoridation problems and the need to test residents for current fluoride levels

I am writing for two reasons,

1. To express my concern at the proposal currently being considered to fluoridate the drinking water in Southampton, and possibly elsewhere in Hampshire.
2. To ask what the levels of exposure there are in the current population in Southampton, and if this is not known, what steps are being taken to find this out.

My concerns over water fluoridation are that:

• It is not proven to be effective for teeth, particularly with the bad effects of dental fluorosis are taken into account (1)
• Many studies have indicated links between water fluoridation and serious ill health effects, including thyroid problems, skeletal fluorosis, bone cancers and mental problems (see attached summary paper)
• Putting fluoride in the water amounts to mass medication of the population. This is in direct contravention on the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (2) and contrary to medical ethics (3). We are seeking a legal opinion on its contravention of the Medicines Directive.

The concern over levels of exposure in the population at the moment is also a very serious one as it is very important to know the total dose that people will be receiving if water fluoridation were to be administered. The World Health Organisation advises that Public Health Administrators should be aware of this before introducing any additional fluoride programme (4).

I look forward to hearing your responses to these points.

Yours sincerely
Caroline Lucas MEP

cc Mrs Pauline Quan Arrow, Chair Southampton City Primary Care Trust

Please note that this is an open letter that I will be releasing to the media.


1. York Study 2000. Main statement from the Conclusions: “The evidence of a benefit of a reduction in caries should be considered together with the increased prevalence of dental fluorosis. The research evidence is of insufficient quality to allow confident statements about other potential harms or whether there is an impact on social inequalities. This evidence on benefits and harms needs to be considered along with the ethical, environmental, ecological, costs and legal issues that surround any decisions about water fluoridation. All of these issues fell outside the scope of this review”:www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/pdf/fluorid.pdf and www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/fluoridnew.htm
2. Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine: http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN/Treaties/Html/164.htm
3. “No physician in his right senses would prescribe for a person he has never met, whose medical history he does not know, a substance which is intended to create bodily change, with the advice: ‘Take as much as you like, but you will take it for the rest of your life because some children suffer from tooth decay’. It is a preposterous notion.” Dr Peter Mansfield, Advisory Board member of York Review.
4. "Dental and Public health administrators should be aware of the total fluoride exposure in the population before introducing any additional fluoride programme for caries prevention.“ - World Health Organization (1994), Fluorides and Oral Health.