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1. A water fluoridation scheme has been in operation for around 50 years in the Allerdale and Copeland areas in the west of Cumbria affecting over 120,000 people. Both Allerdale and Copeland Councils are resolved to oppose water fluoridation.

The Water Treatment Works (WTW’s) currently supplying the fluoridated water are shortly to be decommissioned and replaced by a new WTW at Williamsgate. This presents a unique opportunity to review whether water fluoridation should continue in the County.

2. Fluoridation of the public water supplies is a complex and controversial subject. To do justice to a comprehensive review of water fluoridation it would have to cover a number of issues, including, ethical, legal, safety, benefits, costs, environmental impacts, etc.

Water fluoridation as a public health measure is fundamentally flawed: -

· As a form of compulsory medication, it is unethical

· Taken in unspecified doses by vulnerable populations, it is dangerous

· By its medicinal nature, its legality is questionable

· With other means available to combat tooth decay, it is unnecessary

· Since only a tiny amount of fluoride ends up on children’s teeth, it is inefficient

· Latest scientific studies and the absence of clinical trials show, it is unsafe

· With most of the fluoridated water missing its intended target and being discharged into water courses, it is potentially damaging to the environment

· When equitably compared with other oral health improvement programmes, it is expensive

3. We are aware of discussions and decisions being made on water fluoridation by council forums and council members which, to an outsider, appear to be disjointed and dysfunctional. There is no doubt that the public health and dental communities are heavily involved in promoting the continuation of water fluoridation in Cumbria to the extent that a one-sided bias is permeating debate.

4. Our attempts to get a more balanced and comprehensive review of the issues surrounding water fluoridation are being rebuffed and largely ignored. As an example, we are aware that at the Cabinet meeting scheduled for 27 January, 2022 a report from the Scrutiny Management Board (SMB) on water fluoridation (the “Report”) is tabled for approval.

5. A “Task and Finish Group” chaired by Councillor Stephen Haraldsen submitted a draft of the Report to the SMB for approval on 24 November, 2021. Having seen the draft Report prior to the meeting, we were concerned that some fundamental questions had been overlooked. We therefore requested the SMB chairman that eight issues were addressed as part of the debate at the SMB of the draft Report (Attachment 1). The request was refused.

6. Public participation was not permitted at the SMB meeting on 24 November, 2021 but a number of us were “silent witnesses” to proceedings. The Report was presented by Councillor Stephen Haraldsen who also answered questions raised by fellow members of the SMB. The presentation and subsequent debate contained misleading statements and factual inaccuracies. When we asked, after the meeting, if Councillor Stephen Haraldsen would be prepared to debate our concerns, our request was refused.

7. Undaunted, we wrote to Councillor Stephen Haraldsen on 14 December, 2021 asking for comment on three issues: public consultation; legal status of fluoridated water and medical ethics and patient consent, which were the source of misleading statements and factual inaccuracies. He refused to “respond to the substance of the letter”

8. Given that the Report is submitted for Cabinet approval on 27 January, 2022 and our attempts to add balance to the Report have been repeatedly rebuffed, we have felt it necessary to point out the shortcomings and misleading information in the Report. A copy in “Executive Summary” form is attached for your information (Attachment 2) with a more comprehensive, fully referenced version as Attachment 3.

9. In addition to our concerns over the Report from the SMB, which may be used by Cabinet to formulate a revised policy on water fluoridation, we are aware of other activities which have a more “behind closed doors” feel to current considerations of water fluoridation in Cumbria.

10. Our understanding is that Cumbria County Council policy on water fluoridation, as stated in 2016, was to take no further action on water fluoridation until after the CATFISH study has been published. The CATFISH (Cumbria Assessment of Teeth – a Fluoride Intervention Study for Health) project has been running for 7 years and the findings are currently being peer reviewed i.e., the report is not yet published.

11. Despite this, approval has been given to install the fluoridating equipment into the Williamsgate WTW. It is unknown if this was initiated and approved by the Council or if it was an arrangement made between the water supplier (United Utilities) and Public Health England (now replaced by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities – OHID) and that Council were only later made aware of it. Whichever is the case, the costs will no doubt initially be met by central government (in the shape of OHID) but, these costs will eventually be recovered from Cumbria County Council.

12. We have also been made aware that the Director of Public Health has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (SSHSC) in October, 2021 formally requesting that he agree to a “variation” of the current fluoridation scheme which is required by current legislation. This request from the Director of Public Health seems at odds with the stated policy of the Council on water fluoridation.

13. Whilst this request for a “variation” of the current scheme ought to lead to a formal Public Consultation, there is no guarantee it will do so. What is certain, is that, when water fluoridation was introduced 50 years ago in Cumbria, the affected population were never consulted.

14. As the elected representatives of the people of Cumbria we would appreciate your support in ensuring that all activities associated with water fluoridation are open, inclusive and comprehensive. Should you require any further information or want to discuss the issues raised in this note then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Yours Sincerely

Paul Carr



June 2020: Here is the direct link to watch the US court trial:

Statement to Cumbria County Council 15th. November 2018

Mr Paul Carr made the following statement to Cumbria County Council...
Good  morning Councillors .
I would like to bring to your attention the following.
Cumbria County Councillors are responsible for the fluoridation of West Cumbria's 168,000 population ( North,South & East Cumbria are not fluoridated) despite both Allerdale and Copeland Councils having resolved to be against this potentially harmful, dangerous practice it continues.
This is undemocratic and the process & system seems to be failing here. How can this be?
Only 10% of England is fluoridated. Not Wales, Scotland or N. Ireland.
97% of Europe and most of the rest of the world have either never started or have banned the practice of adding to the water supply fluoridation chemicals which are a by-product of industry and neither natural nor pharmaceutical grade and are not approved as a medicine.
The product used is a controlled poison more toxic than lead, slightly less toxic than arsenic, and is a pollutant which cannot go to landfill or be dumped at sea and is used in rat-killers and pesticides yet it can be put in our water supply and we drink it !
Is the addition of Hexafluoricsilicic Acid to the drinking water supply an appropriate, ethical method of medication for the population of West Cumbria without their informed consent?
These chemicals are being added to the water supply , not to make the water safe to drink , but to treat the tooth decay&disease of the whole population of West Cumbria "on mass " ! Babies, mums to be, the young, the elderly & infirm, those on other medications and even people with dentures!
The dose is uncontrolled as the amount in the water varies and everyone drinks different amounts of water daily. Flouride accumulates in the body.
I believe this to be unethical and that only our Doctor , not Councillors, should prescribe our medication based on our individual needs. It sets a very dangerous precedent. Would you all like me to prescribe for you? I doubt it!
It was reported in The West Cumberland Times on 14/9/2018 that NHS data showed that 1 in 3 five-year-olds in Cumbria inspected in the 2016/17 academic year had experienced tooth decay. The British Dental Association has called on authorities in England to follow the example of the devolved Scottish and Welsh authorities which are not fluoridated but have oral health initiatives Childsmile and Designed to Smile. Childsmile in Scotland is an internationally acclaimed scheme and oral health has never been better and in Wales children's oral health has experienced the most significant improvement since records began with levels of dental disease reducing across all social groups. Clearly fluoridation is not even part of the answer!!
I believe that Cumbria County Council could spend our money and the money to be spent on fluoridation equipment and chemicals at Williamsgate more wisely by ending fluoridation and initiating a county wide oral health program like Childsmile which works and also includes action on diet and sugar consumption instead.
Fluoridation clearly doesn't work and carries with it many potential harms such as dental&skeletal fluorosis which is a mottling of the teeth and a sign of over exposure to fluoride and acknowledged by all parties. In recognition of this the USA and Eire reduced their level to a maximum 0.7 ppm. Ours is double this at 1.5 ppm. The USA also issued warnings to mothers mixing baby formula with tap water and there is a poison warning on every tube of fluoridated toothpaste sold in the USA.
In the interests of the health,safety and wellbeing of West Cumbrians. I call on Cumbria County Council to instruct United Utilities to stop fluoridating our water with immediate effect and for the Council to replace it with a Childsmile type program which actually works and saves Scotland more than £5 million a year and Scottish children unnecessary treatment & extractions plus many hours of pain,sleepless nights and school down time.

I am hoping for your support in this.

CATFISH is a seven year, 1.5 million research project using West Cumbrian children to "discover how well water fluoridation works and how cost effective it is in the current climate of falling decay". Parental permission will be sought from the parents of children who will be five years old in 2014 for dental examinations at school. No parental permission is being sought about West Cumbrian children receiving fluoride in their water. This makes this study unethical. All parents should receive information about the health issues connected to water fluoridation. We have contacted all schools in the affected area- North and West Cumbria-asking that the following information be made available to all parents invited to participate. If you are asked to grant permission for dental examinations for your child and have not received this information from your school please contact us.
CATFISH STUDY information for parents This 6yr, £1.5 million pound research project will monitor West and North Cumbrian children to discover" how well water fluoridation works and how cost effective it is in the current climate of falling[tooth] decay". West Cumbrians have not been asked for permission for themselves or their children to be subject to compulsory fluoridation. Parents will be asked to grant permission for their children to participate in this study and should have information about the health issues associated with water fluoridation and outlined below before making that decision. * A woman's blood supply increases 50% when pregnant thus making it essential that she drinks lots of fluids. In fluoridated areas this will mean unknown amounts of fluoride, a neurotoxin, crossing the placenta to the unborn child. No safe limit for fluoride intake by pregnant women has been determined. Fluoride displaces iodine. Increased levels of Iodine deficiency in pregnant women, linked to increased pregnancy loss and infant mortality, are causing concern in the UK. * Of all age groups, infants are the most vulnerable to fluoride. Infants absorb up to 400% more fluoride [per pound of body weight] than adults consuming the same level of fluoride. Their undeveloped kidneys are unable to excrete fluoride as efficiently as adults. Adults can excrete 50% of the fluoride they ingest, babies only 15-20% leaving 80% of the fluoride they take in to accumulate in their bones, teeth and organs where it remains for life. The British Fluoridation Society and a Health Minister both suggest using bottled water when mixing baby formula to avoid dental fluorosis[ discolouration and pitting of the adult teeth attributed to excessive intake of fluoride]. * It is not only teeth that can be affected by fluoride exposure during infancy. A baby's blood brain barrier is not fully developed at birth and this allows fluoride, a neurotoxin, greater access to the brain than in later life. International research reports have identified that fluoride, approximating the 1mg per litre of water we receive in our tap water, reduces a child's intelligence. The level of fluoride added to West Cumbrian water is 30% higher than the maximum permitted level in the US and Ireland which is 0. 7mg/l. Most European countries have rejected water fluoridation and use toothpaste to successfully tackle decay. *The impact of fluoride on health has been well documented with both skeletal and dental fluorosis being consequences of excessive fluoride intake. Another concern relates to the displacement of iodide by fluoride in the thyroid gland. This can lead to hypothyroidism [ poor function of the thyroid]. Two of the many consequences of poor thyroid function, in children and adults, are fatigue and weight gain.