Friday, 18 February 2011

Southampton's guinea pigs

This article is reprinted from the great website UK Councils Against Fluoridation - it exposes the latest twist in the story of the government's plans to fluoridate Southampton:

City’s children will be used as guinea pigs in new fluoridation ‘research’ by Doug Cross

If the plan to fluoridate Southampton’s water supply goes ahead, the Department of Health (DoH) intends to use children born in the City as unwitting subjects of medical ‘research’, aimed at monitoring the effects of the project on tooth decay and dental fluorosis.

In response to a Freedom of Information request on government expenditure on fluoridation research, the DoH has just revealed its ambitions for the Southampton project;

"We are also supporting a major current research project into the extent and severity of dental fluorosis for which costs are estimated at some £700,000. . .
a new fluoridation scheme would provide an excellent opportunity to undertake prospective research and we are keeping closely in touch with developments on the proposed scheme for Southampton. " (my emphasis added)

The great Southampton 'clinical experiment'.

The recent High Court hearing confirmed that an unelected quango, the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SCSHA), has the power to ignore public opinion, and impose mass medication, regardless of public opinion or consent. Now we learn that the DoH will use the next fluoridation project as a gigantic clinical experiment, and will stand by and watch what happens to the children of the City.

The Department’s cynical contempt for the concept of human rights and medical ethics is breathtaking. By refusing to accept that fluoridation is actually an illegal clinical intervention, its regulatory quango, the MHRA, condones an outrageous violation of both medicinal law and the Clinical Code of Practice that govern all experimentation on human beings.

Using the children as guinea pigs for medical research.

Even before they were aware that the the DoH intended to use their children as guinea pigs for medical research into the effects of water fluoridation, the people of Southampton had withheld their consent.

This new revelation that the DoH now plans to monitor what happens to their children as a result of this disgraceful breach of medical ethics is unlikely to result in any reversal of public opinion - quite the opposite, in fact. The SCSHA appears Hell-bent on deliberately ignoring the prohibition on unethical and improper clinical interventions and experimentation, even when carried out under the ambiguous cover of public health policy.

How long will this 'experiment' last?

If the SHA does attempt to go ahead with the project, the Health Police will then need to carry out their surveillance for at least ten years. It can take that long before some of the known adverse effects appear. But even if the trial is halted as soon as these are recognised, many children will continue to develop the delayed effects of their exposure over another decade or more.

Whilst this is the case for dental fluorosis, what would happens if it a more serious condition were to be discovered? It is here that the appalling recklessness of this 'experiment' is revealed. Take the case of osteosarcoma as an example.

Ten years ago a crucial American study found that thee is an up to eight-fold increase in the occurrence of a frequently fatal form of bone cancer, osteosarcoma in young men in their late teens. This only affects boys (but not girls) of around 5 to 8 years of age who had who lived as children in fluoridated water areas.

The study was rigorously suppressed for four years, hidden in the dusty
Rare Books archive of a leading American University. But for the past ten years, frantic efforts by pro-fluoridation advocates to discredit this work have proved futile, and informed current scientific opinion is that the study was sound.

If there is indeed a risk of some boys developing fluoride-induced osteosarcoma, and the Southampton scheme goes ahead this year, no information on whether or not there will be a rise in this form of cancer will be detectable until, at the earliest, around the mid-2020s.
But even then, if the 'experiment' has to be terminated immediately, it will then take another dozen or so years - say until around 2040 - before all of the younger boys who were placed at risk by this callous experiment will be out of their teens, and can be reasonably assumed to have safely survived their exposure.

Would the City's people be warned of issues such as this if they were to be asked to vote again? Would they give their consent if they were 'fully informed', as the law on clinical research demands?

Refusing to determine the 'safety' of fluoridation.

Fluoridation has been imposed on 6 million people in England for up to half a century. Yet only now is the research on its adverse effects to be carried out. Why was it not carried out forty years ago, before the cumulative effects of other, newer sources of fluoride in our environment made it increasingly difficult to assess the health risks to the public from water fluoridation itself?

Even now, the research will be carried out on an entirely new population, putting yet more people at risk. Why is the DoH so reluctant to assess the existing damage to those who have already grown up in such areas, and in whom the results have long been all too apparent?

With its uncritical endorsement of fluoridation as 'safe and effective', the answer to this is perhaps only too obvious!

Dental fluorosis is only an indicator of other hidden damage.

Fluoridation unquestionably causes widespread medical damage; up to half of all children from such areas develop dental fluorosis. But it is only a biomarker for fluoride poisoning; it is NOT the end of the process, as proponents seek to persuade the public.

Like the canary in the mine, the presence of dental fluorosis in a community shows that both children and adults are already likely to be affected by a chronic level of fluoride poisoning. The invisible development of other, less obvious chronic disorders caused by excessive fluoride intake is gradually becoming clear.

The futility of this experiment on the children

Whatever research methodology the DoH plans to adopt for its study of the effects of this proposed clinical trial on the children of Southampton, the rigorous demands of clinical research guarantee that it will be of low quality and at best, in scientific terms, ambiguous.

It is in fact impossible to carry out a valid clinical trial of this magnitude in such a complex and confused situation, even with consent.

Without consent, it is irresponsible madness.

Is Big Brother running Mr. Cameron's 'Big Society'?

Such totalitarian behaviour is imposed by only a very few pariah States. But in Britain today, the medical establishment within Mr Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ is apparently already under the firm control of an Orwellian 'Big Brother'. Subjecting our children to medical research, especially of the most ill-conceived and incompetent kind, and entirely without consent, is a direct challenge to our autonomy as human beings.

It is a fundamental requirement in all clinical research that the patient must be able to withdraw at any time after a trial has started. But, for the children of Southampton, it seems that the rules have now been rewritten.

Once they have been exposed to fluoridated water, there will be no going back for them. They must run the gauntlet, perhaps for decades, of uncertainty and fear without the option of withdrawing their participation in this unethical experiment. That is not the way that clinical research can be permitted to operate.

Our dental public health sector and the medicines regulator are out of control. All other legitimate recourses are repeatedly blocked by the State. Now, only a judicial review of the legitimacy of the fluoridation legislation itself will abolish this obscene practice, once and for all.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

SHA wins legal case but the fight goes on

See this is an excellent and disturbing summary of the recent legal actions from Hampshire Against Fluoridation:

After nearly two years of uncertainty, the controversial decision by South Central Strategic Health Authority to fluoridate our water was examined in court. The Judicial Review sought by local Southampton resident Gerri Milner was heard at the High Court over two days last month. It wasn‘t just the SCSHA‘s decision that was in the spotlight—also questioned was the wording of the government guidance which enables health authorities to fluoridate water supplies.
Outside the High Court, London.

On Friday 11th February Justice Holman announced his judgement. Although expressing his sympathy with those opposed to having their water mass medicated, he could not uphold the claim that the SHA had acted illegally. This was because the legislation approved by Parliament gives power to Strategic Health Authorities to implement fluoridation schemes without public support. He added that all the SHA had to demonstrate was 'due regard' to public opinion. The SHA maintain it has done this despite 72% of consultation respondents who were opposed to the plans. The other ground of the claim was whether the SHA had considered the 'cogency' of the arguments against fluoridation. Again, they said they had and this was enough to satisfy the legal requirements.

The legislation enabling SHAs to override public opinion means that even if 100% of consultation respondents were against the scheme, the SHA could still go ahead! Clearly the assurances given by ministers in Parliament that local support was vital are meaningless. The ruling makes clear that the SHA is legally able to impose fluoridation on the people of Hampshire, come what may. Basically the NHS spent nearly a million pounds on a sham consultation and a legal case when it had already decided that water fluoridation would go ahead regardless. No wonder the judge was sympathetic to opponents!

For the full ruling see the following website:

What next?

Although disappointing, the Judicial Review has meant a two-year delay in implementing the scheme for which we should be grateful to Gerri Milner for pursuing this case. The Judicial Review has highlighted the absurdity of consultation guidelines that give absolute power to SHAs to do what they like when it comes to mass-medicating local drinking water. All they have to say is 'we heard your arguments but we know better'. This gives the unelected board more power than local MPs, Councils and the many thousands of local people who objected. Not only is this unfair it is clearly undemocratic too. There are 2 obvious reasons why MPs handed total power to the SHAs:
1) they realised fluoridation was controversial and wanted someone else to take the flak
2) they hadn't read the small print and didn't know exactly what they were voting for.

There is no other situation in legislation where total control is entrusted to a non-elected body - to the point where even the MPs who passed the law are powerless to influence their decisions. It is hard to believe that most MPs who voted in favour of the Water Bill (2003) did so in the knowledge that they were denying themselves a say on the subject in future. If you are concerned by this, please write to your local MP and councillor and COMPLAIN. It is also worth writing to the SHA—the more letters they get the better.

In a statement after the ruling, the SHA said that they 'remain satisfied that water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to improve dental health' adding that it 'will now be considering its next steps.' This is somewhat less forceful than previous statements in which they have insisted that water fluoridation would go ahead as soon as possible. Perhaps the fact that the SHA will be abolished next year now means that implementation is uncertain. With the transfer of fluoridation responsibilities to local Councils—all of whom object to the scheme— it would be absurd for the SHA to proceed. The leaders of Southampton and Hampshire Councils have vowed to fight any move by the SHA to implement the scheme.

The Judicial Review ruling does not just affect the Southampton area. Other SHAs in England may now consider it the right time to undertake their own consultations knowing that legally they too can safely ignore local opinion. As a result of the publicity surrounding the Judicial Review, HAF has received support both locally and from around the country. THE FIGHT CONTINUES.

HAF is currently considering what we can do next and already have various ideas.

SHA and PCT knew about children’s dental health improvement before Board took decision

Email correspondence between the Department of Health, SHA and PCT, referred to during the court case revealed that key SHA and Southampton PCT staff knew that the provisional results of the national survey of five year-olds dental health suggested that the decay rate had substantially improved (to 1.2dmft with 70% of children decay free) and were BETTER than the national average. The emails (obtained by Ms Milner‘s legal team) also reveal that details of the new figures were withheld from the SHA Board. This meant that their decision was based on inaccurate figures. The argument was that the survey data had to be 'cleaned' and might change.

In fact the final figures - which were also adjusted to account for non- response - were 1.13dmt with 69% of five year olds decay free. These final figures were available the following month. Given that a major argument for introducing water fluoridation was that dental health in Southampton was worse than the national average, SHA Board members and the public should have been made aware of these figures—even if they were only provisional. Right from the start of the consultation Hampshire Against Fluoridation argued that dental health was improving in Southampton - but our arguments were ignored.

Also there were concerns within the SHA about using the figure of 25% benefit as a basis for the economic analysis. Despite these concerns (and those of the analysts, HAF and HCC) the SHA consistently chose to represent the benefit as being substantial and supported by the economic analysis. But the analysts only used this figure as they were told to by the SHA. HAF was very critical of the economic analysis but our concerns were dismissed.

HAF are being given access to all the court documents obtained by the legal team and we understand that there is more interesting information yet to be revealed............

International news

CANADA: On 8th Feb Calgary City Council voted 10-3 to end 20 years of fluoridation. The combined efforts of informed council members and citizens coupled with good reporting from the Calgary Herald produced this stunning victory in a city of over one million. This follows the removal of fluoride from two other Canadian cities – Windsor and Gatineau – last year.

USA: In a surprising move last month, the US Department of Health and Human Services recommended lowering "optimal" water fluoride levels to 0.7 ppm from 1ppm (the level that is pro- posed for Southampton) to decrease the epidemic of dental fluorosis afflicting over 41% of adolescents aged 12-15. However, even at 0.7 ppm, an infant using fluoridated water will still consume up to 175 times more fluoride than a breast-fed baby.

Earl Howe, UK Minister of Health responding recently to a question by Earl Baldwin in the House of Lords made the following statement: "we will be carefully considering the Department of Health and Human Services' proposals for the USA and the outcome of its consultation, to decide whether any changes should be made to the target concentration used in England."

This is what they said.....

'I think in Southampton and South Hampshire the consultation was not real' (Andrew Lansley January 2010)

'I don‘t believe that fluoridation should go ahead unless there is public support for doing so.' (John Denham MP)

'Mass fluoridation of water would leave people with no choice, and we believe that it should not be imposed by Whitehall diktat.' (Nick Clegg, March 2009)

'It is vital that local people make the choice themselves.' (Gordon Brown, January 2009)

'I have always taken the view that this is something that should be decided locally and I don‘t believe in compulsory fluoridation of water'. (David Cameron, January 2010).

'It is the Government‘s policy that no new fluoridation schemes should be introduced unless it can be shown that the local population is in favour.'(Department of Health, February 2009).

BUT.......... Parliament passed the legislation that enables health authorities to bypass the opinions of MPs, councillors and residents on the issue of fluoridation. The current regulations, recently upheld in the Judicial Review, MUST be scrapped and that is why pressure on MPs is so important.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Grim news: health authority was not acting unlawfully

The High Court has ruled that South Central Strategic Health Authority (SCSHA) was not acting unlawfully in seeking to add fluoride to Southampton's tap water. Basically the court has said that the health authority was not required to defer to public opposition.

A judge rejected claims by resident Geraldine Milner that the decision-making process was "defective". Ms Milner brought the application for a judicial review, backed by local anti-fluoride campaign groups.

Other local authorities had put their fluoridation schemes on hold, pending the outcome of the case. The judge expressed sympathy for people who disagreed with fluoridation but said there was no illegality in the decision-making process. He said: "I appreciate that that will deeply disappoint Ms Milner and the many objectors in the affected area, to whose position I am sympathetic. However it is important to stress that our democratic Parliament decided long ago that water can, in certain circumstances, be fluoridated. As I have endeavoured to show, and contrary perhaps to the belief of Ms Milner and others, it is not the law that fluoridation can only occur when a majority of the local population agree. Parliament has firmly entrusted area-specific decision making to the relevant strategic health authority (SHA). This SHA have not acted unlawfully and no court can interfere with their decision."

During the hearing, Ms Milner's counsel David Wolfe had argued that residents would have "no choice" but to drink fluoridated water.

Campaign groups including the Safe Water Campaign for Gloucestershire, have backed the mother-of-three's case, arguing that the potential side effects range from bone cancer to thyroid problems and brown spots on the teeth.

The decision to add fluoride to water came after 72% of those who responded to public consultation opposed it, with 28% in favour. Mr Wolfe said the authority's move was contrary to government policy that no new fluoridation schemes should be introduced unless it could be shown that the local population was in favour.

Responding to the judgment, Geraldine Milner stated afterwards: “I am obviously disappointed. This is a grim day for justice for the people of Southampton. I am speaking with my legal team with regard to an appeal and sincerely hope to continue the fight.”

There now needs to be a decision as to whether to appeal.

Doug Cross writing in UK Councils Against Fluoridation still challenges the legality of the view saying: "Adding fluoride to the public water supply is therefore a clinical intervention. As such it would be in gross violation of medical law and clinical Codes of Practice. So in summary, therefore, water companies can be ordered to make the product - but they cannot then supply it to the public! And it is this argument that will undoubtedly now replace the entirely valid, but sadly peripheral scientific objections to this discredited practice. Already there is public despair at a ruling that appears to allow the State to dose the people with whatever substance may be in medical fashion, in arrogant disregard of the wishes of the people."

But this judgment does NOT endorse the continuation of the practice of water fluoridation. It merely establishes that the government has given a legitimate power to SHAs to order water suppliers to make a medicinal product. In does NOT permit the product to be used in the mass medication of the public."

The balance of public opinion around the world has already started to swing against water fluoridation, as witnessed by events in the USA, Canada and elsewhere in the past month. This form of State-sponsored clinical malpractice is rapidly coming to an end - this judgment merely ensures that far more pressure will now be exerted to force its long-overdue demise.