Introduction and Britain’s water supply

So, ‘blogs’, they tell me.

I was under the impression they were just something to update people about the latest Big Brother gossip or rant about things they don’t like, like a glorified letters section of a broadsheet or, heaven forbid, electronic agony aunt stories.

In fact there’s a code of conduct, a list of ethics by which we should all abide. Many are obvious such as don’t copy people without asking or clearly distinguish opinion from fact, but others are more cryptic, such as ‘recognise common standards of decency’, which raises the question what the definition of all those words is in this complex modern world.

I suppose in order to fill the aforementioned criteria I should point out that they came from an information pack for my Journalism module, for which this blog was created.

We have been split into groups of our own choosing and must each tackle a topic from the following four: Sport, Entertainment, Health and Politics. Since my group members (who’s blogs you can find in the links list on the right) chose politics and entertainment, I chose health, since I have no strong interest in sport whatsoever.

So, without further ado I must endeavour to educate about health, but first what is health? It could mean the National Health Service, which has had numerous trials and tribulations over the last decade to do with improvement of services and efficiency, or perhaps it refers to the day to day health of people and the onslaught of healthy eating and living, or even how new diets and new packaging on products in our supermarkets drive us towards ‘the healthy option’ in a move by government watchdogs to attempt to combat obesity.

Today health ministers have said they back plans to add fluoride to drinking water, because it strengthens children’s teeth. Fluoride itself, commonly found in and advertised on toothpaste tubes across the country, is found in around 10% of the country’s water supply, but only a couple of areas, namely Hartlepool in the North West and parts of Essex, have high enough level to benefit dental health. (source: http://www.dentalhealth.org.uk/faqs/leafletdetail.php?LeafletID=17)

This is what has led to the idea of intruducing it into the water supply as: “effective and relatively easy way” to reduce tooth decay among children in poorer areas. (source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7224743.stm) Opponents to the idea claim there is risk of bone cancer from increased levels of the element, and it’s difficult to know how long-term exposure could effect children, since the 6 million people already benefiting from the increased levels in the North West are a minority of the total population, and many water companies are apprehensive to take the idea forward, despite MPs making the process easier in 2003.

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