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   FIB->Fluoridation->Bedfordshire

So what's the history?

Well, we're still digging through the archives, but the current picture is that fluoridation in Bedfordshire started somewhere between 1971 and 1974. The local water provider, Anglian Water (AW) have stated that they hold an agreement dated 1971 which was made with the 'Bedfordshire Water Board'. By contrast, the Beds and Herts Health Authority say that it began in 1974. There also appears to have been some change of mind with the council rescinding permission and then giving it again according to archival sources. More recently, there have been periods over the last few years when AW suspended fluoridation as Bedford Water Treatment Works was taken out of supply due to 'operational reasons'. The fitting of new fluoride dosing equipment also caused fluoridation to be stopped temporarily.

Who supplies what?

AW has this to say about supplying fluoridated water:

"The water in Bedford town and a number of surrounding villages is supplied through our Manton Lane reservoir and these received fluoridated water...

Fluoridation also takes place at our groundwater sources supplying the Potton and Biggleswade areas.

A number of supply zones in Bedfordshire are not fluoridated as the water source is common to neighbouring towns and villages which are outside the area of the fluoridation agreement."

To see a (badly photocopied!) map of the fluoridation zones, click here.

According to AW, around 60,000 cubic metres (60 million litres) of water is pumped each day to these zones. At a fluoridation level of 1mg/L, that's 60 million mg, or 60kg of fluoride per day. Please note that this is an estimate based on AW's figures. They were unwilling to discuss exactly how much fluoride is used each day stating that this was 'operational' information which might be misleading if not examined in the right context.

Now where does all of that fluoride go? Amazingly enough, upto half of all water leaving pumping stations (and this is not exclusive to AW) can be lost in leakages and accidents. Only between 0.1 and 1 percent of water is actually drunk by consumers. This means at least 99% of supplied water enters the environment in some way, from leakages, washing, bathing, watering lawns etc. Further more, no environmental studies have been carried out to measure the effects of this toxic torrent.

"DO NOT let this chemical [hexafluorosilicic acid - 'fluoride'] enter the environment. Dispose of this product as hazardous waste. Consult the supplier to see if he will take it back."

     - Rhone Poulenc Safety Data Sheet for Hexafluorosilicic Acid.

And what exactly is being supplied?

In Bedfordshire, the fluoridation chemical is hexafluorosilicic acid (HA). Technically, HA is recovered as a co-product when manufacturing phosphoric acid for the production of superphosphate fertilisers. In other words, itís scraped from chimney stacks.

HA is roughly 85 times more toxic than natural calcium fluoride. The artificial fluoride compounds are more toxic because they are more soluble in water and the fluoride dissociates from the compound. In the body this fluoride becomes the "most exclusive bone seeking element, owing to its affinity for calcium phosphate".

Since according to the British Standards, HA is not required to be pharmaceutical grade, but industrial grade, it ranges anywhere from 18% to 25% pure. Incredibly enough, as the Irish group Fluoride Free Water discovered, the remaining amount consists of toxic metals such as arsenic and lead and trace amounts of radioactive isotopes.

The most staggering thing about the fluorides used in this country and throughout the world is that they have never been tested on animals or people for safety. Anglian Waterís HA supplier is a company named Hydro Gas & Chemicals of Immingham who import the chemical from Holland. You may want to contact them if youíre interested in using HA for:

  • Sterilization of equipment
  • Electroplating
  • Tanning of animal hides
  • Ceramics and Glass: Glass etching
  • Commercial Laundry: As a neutralizer for alkalis
  • Hardening of Cement
  • Oil well acidizing
  • Rust and Stain removal for textiles
  • Pesticide
  • Wood preservation
Sorry, what did you say was in my water!?!

Well, to be honest we can't tell you exactly. After a brief telephone discussion, we discovered that Anglian Water donít test any of the HA supplies that they receive from the manufacturer and can't provide us with a chemical analysis of the product. Instead, they rely on the suppliers quality standards to ensure that the product they receive is fit for distribution.

OK, who controls all of this?

The Water (Fluoridation) Act 1985 now consolidated into the Water Industry Act 1991 gives water companies the rights to introduce fluoridation if requested to do so by the local health authority. The health authorities are required by law to engage in a formal consultation process. The Beds and Herts health authority state that the process consists of:
  1. Prior to or during the formal consultation the health authority will approach bodies such as Primary Care Trusts, Community Health Councils/patient and public involvement fora, the Local Dental Committee and Local Medical Committee for a view.
  2. Publicising details of what is proposed in at least one newspaper circulating in each of the areas affected.
  3. Re-publicising the details seven days after the initial publication.
  4. Consulting every local authority whose area is wholly or partially affected.
  5. In the required 3 months of consultation, answering inquiries and making presentations at meetings of local councils and other bodies.
  6. Responses to the authority's consultation document, advertisements and other publicity come through resolutions passed by local authorities, the Community Health Council, professional organisations and other groups, as well as letters written by individual members of the public.
  7. The health authority then reconsiders its decision in the light of these responses and any additional information which its medical and dental advisers wish to present. The final decision is statutorily a matter for the health authority.
Even if the consultation process is successful in establishing a request for fluoridation, a water company can still refuse to fluoridate if asked. Again, according to the Beds and Herts Health Authority, 60 such requests have been made by health authorities across the country only to be turned down by the water provider. Anglian Water has this to say on the subject:

"Our current policy is to add fluoride only where:-

  1. the procedures in the Water (Fluoridation) Act 1985 have been satisfied
  2. we are satisfied with the indemnity
  3. the Health Authority meets the capital and revenue costs of the scheme
  4. our operational flexibility is not constrained by the requirements of the fluoridation scheme"
Note the indemnity (insurance) clause. Water companies are concerned about their legal exposure if fluoridation is found to be hazardous to health. Anglian Water was given indemnity with respect to liabilities and costs arising in connection with fluoridation in 1989.

See the next section for details of the Governments plans to take away the right of refusal from the water companies. The strategic health authorities will then be fully responsible for fluoridation.

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