Note: Embargoed until 00:01 26th July 2002
Headline: Severn Trent Water AGM
Severn Trent Water (STW) will be holding their AGM in Nottingham today (26th July). This particular meeting will be subject to the usual lobbying of both the pro and anti-fluoridation movements. However,the blue touch paper' has been lit by a representative of STW, Peter Barrett, who recently stated in the Shropshire Star newspaper that fluoridation of that county would only occur "over my dead body"
This comment has prompted a vigorous response from a consultant in dental public health, Mike Prendergast. Further to this response, an article has also appeared in the North Staffs newspaper, The Sentinel, indicating that the pro-fluoride lobby is going to put fresh pressure upon STW, at the time of their AGM, to fluoridated water supplies.
In both circumstances, the representatives of the pro-fluoride lobby made *misleading statements.
We deplore the continued use of propaganda, shoddy science and misleading information to promote fluoridation. We also call upon STW to accept it's responsibility to provide wholesome water and to abandon fluoridation as a discredited and harmful practice.
*Responses to the offending articles are presented at the end of this press release.
END OF STATEMENT.
1. The Shropshire Star, 19th July, 2002.
2. The Shropshire Star, 23rd July, 2002.
3. The Sentinel (undated).
 Response to first article:
Letter to the Editor (Shropshire Star).
Re: Dental boss calls for fluoride in water, Peter Johnson, Shropshire Star, 23/7/2002.
Mike Prendergast, described by the Star as "Shropshire's dental supremo", is playing fast and loose with the truth. He is also being ambiguous with statistics on dental health.
The claim that Telford has a dental health problem is not supported by any facts and figures. If Mr Prendergast wishes to be taken seriously, then he should fully publish all of his data so that it can be publicly scrutinised.
His view that fluoridation is not "mass medication" is a personal one. It is a legally established fact that fluoride is added to the water to treat a disease, namely tooth decay. The fact that it is not (credibly) scientifically proven to reduce tooth decay is another interesting point.
This leads me to my next objection. To claim that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by at least 50% is poppycock. No respectable statistician worth their salt would put their name to such a foolish statement.
"Public consultation" is also grossly misleading. The health authorities (HAs) who want to see fluoridation are compelled to go through this process. However, it is a complete waste of time because such HAs have already made their minds up and will simply ignore everything that will claim to show fluoridation as being ineffective or dangerous. As one example, I personally witnessed this at a Council meeting in Newcastle-under-Lyme several years ago when the director of public health turned his back on a presentation by an anti-fluoridation representative.
Finally, it is claimed that a MORI poll claims to show that more than 60% of Shropshire people support fluoridation. This is a deeply flawed claim inasmuch that opinion polls on fluoridation are commonly commissioned by those who want to see water supplies fluoridated. I have also had extensive dealings with MORI it is patently clear that the polls they conduct are secretive and potentially loaded. What I mean by this is that it is easy to get the answer you want to an opinion poll if the questions(s) asked are based on misleading information. Only a proper referenda based on both sides putting forward their argument will result in a fair representation of how many people really do want fluoridated water. In this respect the supporters of fluoridation usually lose and this is why they appear to prefer opinion polls which can be manipulated to get the answer they want.
If anybody wants proof of anything I have said in my letter, they only have to visit my website, (now) fluoride.website. On this site you will find evidence of wrongdoing by supporters of fluoridation in abundance.
 Response to second article:
Letter to the Editor (The Sentinel).
Re: We need to stop the rot [DAVID ALCOCK, The Sentinel, 24 July 2002.]
Water fluoridation: here we go again. An untraceable organisation, the "West Midlands Dental Health", who appear to have no website or traceable credentials, make vague, propagandist and misleading statements about water fluoridation. Let's be clear about the subject. There are many factors which can influence dental health statistics.
For example, in the article it was claimed that fluoridated South Staffordshire and Solihull had better child dental health than North Staffs. Firstly, both Solihull and South Staffs are more affluent than North Staffs, with the implication that you would expect to see a better level of dental health where there is less deprivation. You also have to consider environmental, geographical and cultural variations, amongst other things.
Secondly, in a Commons written answer earlier this year, a full list of practicing dentists (at Sept. 2001) was published. For every 10,000 population, North Staffs had 3.1 dentists (2.5 in general practice), South Staffs had 3.6 (3.0) and Solihull had 3.9 (3.6). Obviously, North staffs is being deprived of dentists compared to the two fluoridated districts. Furthermore, substantially more children were screened by Community Dental Services (CDS) in the year ending 2001 in the two fluoridated districts than in North Staffs. The CDS is a 'safety net' which ensures the most deprived members of the population receive dental care. So why is more-deprived North Staffs being starved of this facility compared to it's more affluent neighbours?
Thirdly, in the latest available statistics on SOUND teeth, 5-year-olds (1999-2000) in North Staffs (18.00) had ONLY 5% fewer sound teeth than Solihull (18.96). The figure was only 4% when compared to South Staffs (18.77). Conversely, 12-year-olds North Staffs in 1996-7 had MORE sound teeth (23.96) than in South Staffs (23.69). And in 1994-5, North Staffs 14-year-olds (25.20) had MORE sound teeth than in Solihull (25.02). Quite an achievement for an area starved of dentists, community dental service screening and suffering greater levels of deprivation.
These are just a few examples of what the pro-fluoridation lobby will not tell you. Please visit my website to learn more about fluoridation: (now) www.fluoride.website.