Skip to content

NEWS: Right to water vs fluoridation in British court

The BBC reports that, “Geraldine Milner was so incensed when her health authority pushed ahead with plans to put fluoride in Southampton’s tap water (despite a public consultation which suggested 78% of people were against this) she fought the decision in the High Court. …She said started the legal challenge because she felt her ‘basic human right’ of clean water was under threat.”

“Ms Milner said she was concerned there were health risks associated with high doses of fluoride. …Ms Milner also questions to what extent putting fluoride in tap water can prevent tooth decay. She claimed a scheme in Scottish schools where children were encouraged to brush their teeth after lunch would be more effective, as well as more education on the subject.” (Note: In November 2004, after months of consultation, Scotland – which had been unfluoridated – rejected plans to add fluoride to the nation’s water.)

“However her claim that South Central Strategic Health Authority (SCSHA) had acted unlawfully by not properly considering residents’ views has now been rejected by the High Court. …The judge said he was sympathetic to the position of Ms Milner and ‘many objectors in the affected area’ but that Parliament had entrusted such decisions to the relevant strategic health authority. ‘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,’ he said.”

The BBC adds that this “compulsory (fluoridation) scheme (is) the first of its kind in the UK for 20 years.”

Fluoridation is primarily done in Canada, the United States and Australia, but almost nowhere else in the world. Western Europe and Japan have almost no fluoridated water supplies. For a list of countries around the world (including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland) whose drinking water is not fluoridated, go to http://www.actionpa.org/fluoride/countries.pdf.

The news report is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-12429248.