A COCKERMOUTH man has launched a petition calling for a public consultation into fluoridation.

Paul Carr, of Fluoride Free Cumbria, said: "The mandatory addition of fluoridation chemicals to the water supply in West Cumbria is against all the principles of democracy and pharmacology."

He claims it causes fluorosis and other health issues and is calling for the county council, which has the authority to decide whether fluoride is added to our water, to take action.

The petition calls for a "full public consultation by Cumbria County Council on fluoridation of West Cumbria at Williamsgate".

Ten percent of England is supplied with fluoridated water.

Mr Carr and other members of Fluoride Free Cumbria spoke to the council's cabinet on January 27 about their opposition to fluoridation.

The cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services responded: "We are not here to take any formal decisions about starting, ending or varying any fluoridation scheme.

"Indeed, since 2016 Cabinet has had a formal policy not to consider this matter until the Catfish study is published, which has not yet happened."

A study into water fluoridation across Cumbria called Catfish (Cumbria Assessment of Teeth – a Fluoride Intervention Study for Health) is being carried out.

At the same meeting, the council's cabinet considered a report into the fluoridation of water supplies by Coun Stephen Haraldsen, chair of Fluoridation of Water Supplies Task Group.

The report investigated "the risks and benefits of water fluoridation".

It recommended: "When making a decision, the decision maker should factor in the known oral health benefits of water fluoridation and that they should make their assessment based on the current balance of scientific research on the wider health risks, if the question were to arise in the future.

"Therefore, currently, members recommend that existing water fluoridation schemes in Cumbria should be maintained and that consideration should be given to extending water fluoridation."

It made two other recommendations: "That fluoridation works best as part of a package of interventions to improve oral health".

"That decision makers recognise that the science on wider health risks is constantly changing, and that the evidence of the wider health implications of fluoridation are kept under review."

The cabinet agreed fully with recommendations two and three and partially with recommendation one.

"As the Catfish study has still not been published, consideration of extending fluoridation to other parts of Cumbria is not appropriate at this time," said the report.

Mr Carr said it is an "outrageous situation" that our "wonderful Lakeland drinking water" is being treated.

"It is a basic human right that a person should be allowed to choose a medical treatment, to make an informed decision on an individual basis in consultation with their doctor and not have it imposed by any council," said Mr Carr.

"In our opinion public consultation is a minimum requirement on such an important issue as the quality, safety and potability of our most precious, life giving and sustaining resource."