Compulsory medication

That perennial row about whether it is right to add fluoride to water is raging again. Our newish Health Secretary believes that children’s teeth will benefit hugely through compulsory mass medication. Instead of people taking fluoride topically, if they choose, by buying a fluoride toothpaste, we will all be forced to ingest it in the water if he has his way.

Nevermind that this shows a failure of the government’s stated policy to encourage healthier eating and drinking in young people, to teach them the importance of cleaning their teeth or to provide adequate NHS dentists. The latest government proposal is to force feed us all a chemical. What are people who react badly to fluoride to do?

There is a clear issue of freedom here. You are forced to use water from the tap. You need it to bathe in, cook in and to clean your teeth in. When you visit a friend, a bar or restaurant, everything they prepare will have used fluorinated water. So if you’re also one of the unlucky ones who can’t tolerate fluoride you have no escape.

Despite a subsidy from the government, heath authorities would be wise to turn down any attempt to make them impose mass medication on their unsuspecting communities. Most taxpayers don’t much like the idea of having their hard earned cash used for this purpose..

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10 Comments

  1. Cliff
    Posted February 6, 2008 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    John,

    All you need to remember about this government is:-

    "Nanny Knows Best."

    If any of us gave medication to someone without their informed consent, we would be prosecuted and rightly so. Why should it be different for Nanny?

  2. Michael Hunt
    Posted February 6, 2008 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I thought virtually all toothpaste contained fluoride anyway.

    I agree that universal dosing of water is doubtful, probably harmful to a few and yet another cost for us all.

  3. Chuck Unsworth
    Posted February 6, 2008 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely right. No Mass Medication! What chance is there of a major disaster? Anyone remember Camelford?

    My family was involved with the National Pure Water Association right at the outset. Yes, the NPWA may have appeared to be a bunch of crackpots – but subsequent events have borne out their worst fears.

    The question might be this: If the Government imposes this introduction of artificial chemicals on the nation's water supplies is it prepared to indemnify us all for any damages arising? This is just as bad as the notion of mandatory introduction of folic acid in foodstuffs. Whatever next – compulsory Largactyl?

    It is hugely beneficial to some people, however – the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

  4. Peter Turner
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I am puzzled. Were we not arguing about this very subject 30 years ago. I thought it had all been settled.

  5. Neil Craig
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Fluoride may be the first occasion in which "liberal" opinion moved to supporting mass compulsory social engineering. It also started at a time when chemical companies were newly producing flouride as a by-product & were quite keen to see somebody buy it. It does go against the grain of most subsequent environmentalism which has laboured hard to keep anything out of our environment, even occasionally when they are down to such small quantities that they become necessary trace elements.

    On the other hand it is indisputable that teeth are generally better in areas where it is added.

    Therefore I don't feel this is something to go to the wall to stop. It is unfortunate that those on both sides seem to be more interested in heat than light.

  6. Chuck Unsworth
    Posted February 8, 2008 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I'm sorry I just have to add further comment. If Fluoridation is such a jolly good thing why don't those who support it simply propose its availability in much the same way as vitamin tablets. Why should I be obliged to ingest their choice of chemical in my otherwise relatively clean drinking water? Would they be prepared to reciprocate?

  7. Frank Crook
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Please fight against TOXIC flouride, The proposal to add flouride to our drinking water, (medication of the masses,) it is against medical ethics as i thought a person had to give consent, Also the European Convention on human rights says that we can say no, We need a strong voice, even taking this matter to the European courts, Frank Crook, Thank you.

  8. David Norwood
    Posted September 27, 2008 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    I would strongly agree with the flouridation of water. I understand that this has led to great benefit in areas of the county where flouride has been added to the water.

    If there are known benefits, I would rather my childrens health be improved in this way.

    Reply: Why not let people take their own flouride through toothpaste etc. Some people react very badly to flouride in their ater, and many object to compulsory medicaiton.

  9. Nathan
    Posted October 20, 2008 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Mass medication through water is abhorrent.

    The same stupidill educated people that fluoridation is supposed to protect also eat poor, mainly fast food, diets. Should we inject the missing vitamins and minerals into water to compensate for their bad diet? Regardless of the effect it has on those of us that eat a balanced diet. We all have choices and if we choose to have our teeth fall out then so be it.

    I don't accept poverty as an excuse for not owning a toothbrush and toothpaste. Do without one packet of cigarettes a week and you'll more than pay for it. If not enjoy your tooth decay.

    How many toothless campaingers do you see bemoaining the fact that they would still have teeth had the water been fluoridated in their area. I've not seen one, so whose agenda is this really?

    Those of us who do look after our teeth should not have medication forced upon us because some in society place vlaue on other things before their health.

    By the way, waste from aluminimum production is used to fluoridate the water need I say more.

  10. steve
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Why do they not just had out toothpaste to people?
    why do we have to drink other peoples toothpaste?

    i cleaned my teeth 3 times a day as a child and I had fluoride in my water and STILL I had fillings , sugar is the problem doesn't matter how much you brush ,that stuff rots your teeth! its in all the kids cereals which they eat just before they leave the house for school.

    governments rot your teeth.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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