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Originally published August 17 2008

UK Health Secretary Orders Mass Fluoridation of England's Children

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The United Kingdom's Health Secretary says that fluoridation of the water supply is needed to fight tooth decay among poor children, a move opposed by many health advocates.

"Fluoridation is carried out by water companies in violation of their customers' human right to refuse consent to any medical intervention," said the National Pure Water Association, noting that "by presenting fluoridation as a means of preventing tooth decay, [Health Secretary] Alan Johnson confirms the practice is medication."

Such critics also argue that it is inappropriate to expose people to a medication without adjusting for their body's individual needs. Adding a drug to the water supply without being able to regulate how much water people drink, they say, is dangerous.

Johnson plans to tell health officials to fluoridate the water supply in areas of the country with high rates of tooth decay. According to Johnson, poor children do not brush their teeth regularly, and need the cavity-fighting boost that fluoridated water will give them.

"These children are already being identified and treated in more effective ways," the National Pure Water Association disagreed.

Fluoridation of public water supplies is widespread in certain parts of the world, with nearly 70 percent of the water in Australia and the United States supplemented with compounds of the highly reactive mineral fluoride. But the practice has attracted great controversy, with critics alleging that the benefits of fluoridation are not well supported, while the risks are better documented.

Long-term consumption of fluoride has been shown to increase the risk of tooth and bone mottling known as fluorosis, and may increase the risk of bone fractures and cancers. A Taiwanese study found that women living in areas where the water had a high natural fluoride content had higher rates of bladder cancer than women in other areas. It is also known to have neurotoxic effects.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies fluoride as a toxin and regulates the level that is allowed into water.

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