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Sign and ratify the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine 1997 and then incorporate Articles 2 and 5 of the Convention into the UK’s Human Rights Act, 1998.

Comment 4th February 2016

Relevant text of the Convention: 1

Chapter I – General provisions

Article 2 – Primacy of the human being

The interests and welfare of the human being shall prevail over the sole interest of society or science.

Chapter II – Consent

Article 5 – General rule

An intervention in the health field may only be carried out after the person concerned has given free and informed consent to it.  This person shall beforehand be given appropriate information as to the purpose and nature of the intervention as well as on its consequences and risks.  The person concerned may freely withdraw consent at any time.

In a democratic society, it is despicable for the State, medical experts, academics, etc. to make medicinal substances compulsory just because it could be good for society.  Moreover, in its White Paper on Health, the Coalition Government proposes that health interventions cannot be initiated without the agreement of the patient: “No decision about me without me”.

Two crackpot suggestions have recently been proposed for compulsorily adding statins and lithium to our drinking water because it would be 'good' for the health of everyone.  This is a perfect example of employing the sledge-hammer technique – viz. let’s give Substance A to everyone whether they need it or not.

Are these suggestions likely to be adopted by policy makers?  If parliamentarians in a weak moment could be influenced by lobbyists to vote for the provisions of Section 58 of the Water Act 2003 which effectively compulsorily medicates everyone in a given area, then what’s to stop further excesses, particularly when the lobbyists are being hyperactive on behalf of their client, Big Pharma?

Another substance which is ‘good for us’ is folic acid.  The substance is beneficial in preventing neural tube defects in the foetus, but there is a disbenefit – “Intakes of folic acid above 1 mg per day can potentially mask the anaemia that is an early symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency”.2  Failure to detect anaemia in its early stages predisposes patients to poor health outcomes.  The Food Standards Agency (FSA) wishes to add folic acid to flour which means that most shop-bought bread and flour will contain the vitamin.  Older people may not know that it’s advisable for them to avoid too much folic acid despite advertising campaigns.  Knowledge that there is folic acid in bread and flour would soon be forgotten, labels not read and people whose diets comprise mostly flour-based foodstuffs could be the ones to suffer. So folic acid is both a beneficial intervention and an intervention which has a knock-on effect which will cause harm.  

Folic acid in bread and flour is a medical intervention which cannot be easily targeted at a vulnerable sub-group (newly pregnant girls and women) so everyone has to eat it.  Yet another example of the sledge-hammer policy.

Two days ago, the Daily Mail 3 reported that Government advisors are urging the fortification of milk with Vitamin D. “The Food Standards Agency says most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from their diet and sun exposure but recommends ten micrograms per day for over-65s and pregnant and breastfeeding women.  It warns that high doses can weaken bones but says that taking up to 25 micrograms in supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm.” 

So here we go again:  Vitamin D is beneficial to over-65s, to pregnant and breastfeeding women but there is a disbenefit if one ingests too much.  So do I stop drinking milk if I wish to avoid Vitamin D?  But this would mean that I am being denied freedom of choice.  Why not go the extra mile and put Vitamin D in soya and rice milk products so that no-one can have freedom of choice?  More sledge-hammeritis!

I’ve already mentioned Section 58 of the Water Act 2003 which is a draconian law which adds a medicinal substance  – hexafluorosilicic acid (fluoride) – to the water supply of 6 million people in England.  Six million people in England are unwillingly or unknowingly the recipients of this medicinal substance which causes a metabolic change to their bodies by harmfully inhibiting enzymes.  Another word for an enzyme inhibitor is ‘toxin’.  Whereas many vitamins are measured in micrograms (10-6), fluoride is measured in milligrams (10-3) – a greater concentration.  Vitamin D and folic acid (Vitamin B9) are not toxic whereas fluoride is.

The 6 million fluoridated people fall into four broad categories:

  1. Those who know about the substance and who object to it.  They definitely have had their human rights violated; 
  2. Those who know about the substance and who don’t object to it.  They could be having their human rights violated but are keeping quiet about it; 
  3. Those who don’t know about the substance but if they did, they would object;
  4. Those who don’t know about the substance but if they did would continue to ‘take the waters’.

It’s an interesting situation:  are the human rights of people in all four categories being violated?  Or just the human rights of those people in Categories 1 and potentially, Category 3?  Even if those people in Categories 1 and 3 are in the minority, their human rights, needs and wishes should be respected.

It’s odd that whereas the FSA is concerned that consumers do not take excessive levels of folic acid and Vitamin D in their diets, no-one seems to be keeping an eye on the total fluoride exposure of 6 million fluoridated people.  It’s doubly odd that whereas fortified milk and flour will not be 100% compulsory, fluoridated water is 100% compulsory.  It’s triply odd that whereas folic acid and Vitamin D are beneficial vitamins which the FSA does not want us to have too much of, no-one, but no-one in Government is concerned about the 6 million people currently overdosing on bio-accumulative fluoride.  The WHO was aware of over-exposure to fluorides and concludes in its 1994 monograph Fluoride and Dental Health,  “Dental and public health administrators should be aware of the total fluoride exposure in the population before introducing any additional fluoride programme for caries (tooth cavities) prevention.” 4  If fluoridation programmes expand, more fluoride would be found in our water and food supply and consequently, more people would be over-dosing.  But the research is not being done and not likely to be done in these financially straightened times.  Moreover, the Department of Health’s “continuing programme on research into fluoride and fluoridation” is notorious for its nebulous qualities: in short there are no research projects in the pipeline or planned and there is no up-to-date research on fluoride exposure levels.

Why does this matter?

Fluoridation of the water supply of 6 million people is compulsory medication and the practice violates Articles 2 and 5 of the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine 1997.   Until Articles 2 and 5 are incorporated into UK Law, the practice of water fluoridation will continue, and no fluoridated person in England can therefore use the provisions in Articles 2 and 5 to legally justify their refusal to drink tap water.  They can stop drinking the water at great personal inconvenience but that would not stop fluoridation in its tracks.   Nothing is currently being done to redress this situation because neither the UK nor the Republic of Ireland have signed and ratified the Convention. Both are fluoridating countries.  I leave you to draw your own conclusions!

It’s time for the Coalition Government to grasp the nettle and instruct its representatives in Europe to contact the Council of Europe’s offices in order to confirm the UK as a signatory to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine.  Having done this, ratification should follow swiftly.  This removes the final hurdle which prevents progress towards updating  of the UK Human Rights Act 1998 to incorporate Articles 2 and 5 of the 1997 Convention.  Naturally, the Water Act 2003, Section 58 would then have to be repealed before we can all breathe a sigh of relief and order the Water Companies to stop adding the toxin to our water supply.

Finally, amending the Human Rights Act 1998 would prevent medical ‘experts’ advocating compulsorily medicating us all with other substances.  Today, it’s statins, lithium, folic acid and Vitamin D;  what will they propose tomorrow?  Are we truly headed for a Brave New World and wasn’t the 1997 Human Rights Act designed to prevent Huxley’s vision from materialising?

  1. Council of Europe (1997).  Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with Regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention of Human Rights and Biomedicine.  http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/005.htm
  2. Paragraph 6, UK Health Departments and Food Standards Agency Joint Consultation: Folic Acid and the Prevention of Disease.  20th June 2001
  3. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1303398/Call-sunshine-vitamin-milk-help-beat-cancer.html?ito=feeds-newsxml#ixzz0wr0h9vql
  4. This 1994 monograph seems to have disappeared from sight although it’s extensively referenced.!
  5. http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/Commun/ChercheSig.asp?NT=164&CM=8&DF=17/08/2010&CL=ENG
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