Legality of Fluoridation of Tap Water in Southampton (UK)
The on-going debate about the addition of fluorine to drinking water supplied to domestic premises in England reached the High Court in London today, Wednesday 19th January 2011.
This case has been widely reported both online and by the broadcast media. (See, for example, this link to the BBC's online report: Southampton's fluoridation decision 'unlawful' added to the BBC website early this afternoon.)
Today's decision and the resulting publicity is the result of Hampshire resident Geraldine Milner's legal challenge against a decision made in 2009 by the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SCSHA). The SCSHA considered that the addition of fluorine to drinking water supplied to residents in the area would improve dental health, and authorised this despite a public consultation indicating 72% opposition the proposal.
While opponents of the fluoridation of tap-water demonstrated outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London today, Ms Milner's counsel, Mr David Wolfe said that approx. 195,000 people in Southampton and parts of south-west Hampshire "would have fluoride added to their water whether they liked it or not".
Mr Wolfe argued that this is not in line with government policy that no new fluoridation schemes should be introduced unless it could be shown that the local population was in favour. The present application for a judicial review is not to consider the science of the "merits vs risks" of the likely impact of fluoridation of water on health, but rather about the legality of such a compulsory scheme.
Mr Wolfe said:
" Four out of five local authorities and three out of four local MPs expressed their opposition within the consultation process.
" Ms Milner is in good company, whether she is right or wrong."
The South Central Strategic Health Authority (SCSHA) is opposing Ms Milner's legal challenge. The hearing continues.
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