CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to add fluoride to Hampshire tap water have called on the Government to end a “medical scandal” by fully testing the impact it has on health.

Hampshire Against fluoridation wants the chemical to be treated as a medicine, and for rigorous assessments of its possible effects to be carried out for the first time – before it can be added to tap water.

The organisation, which has been fighting the controversial scheme to fluoridate homes and businesses in parts of Southampton , Eastleigh , Totton , Netley and Rownhams , has written to the Health Secretary demanding a change in the law.

Its chairman, John Spottiswoode , said the refusal to fully examine the effects of fluoridation is “very reminiscent of the early days of the defence of nicotine, lead and asbestos”.

Health bosses hope to introduce fluoride in Hampshire by next spring, arguing it will improve children’s dental health and has no proven serious side effects, but Mr Spottiswoode said he fears growing evidence of harm is being ignored.

Opponents claimed the chemical can cause problems such as mottled teeth, brittle bones, cancers and even lowered IQ in youngsters.

Mr Spottiswoode said he wants the Department of Health to require fluoride to be examined to strict medicinal standards before new schemes are brought in, adding to those running elsewhere in the UK since the 1960s.

He said: “Millions are being experimented on with a substance that has never been properly tested.

“The question is how long this medical scandal can continue, the unsound defence of fluoride being very reminiscent of the early days of the defence of nicotine, lead and asbestos.

“Several toxins can be, and are included with the fluoride, which while only at theoretically low levels are still worryingly high for the level of consumption by people every day over the long term.

“It is the duty of the Department of Health to look after the population’s health and this is a serious loop-hole that means the population is not being protected.

“Water fluoridation should not be extended until the fluoride chemicals have been properly tested for their effects on the whole body and not just on the teeth.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said fluoridation has been in place in parts of the UK for more than 40 years, and there are “no immediate plans” to treat it as a medicine.