11 MARCH 1966, Page 15

SIR,—The thought of being 'dosed by decree' with fluoride in

our water, appalling as it is in principle (think of its extension to hormones in the water to control population and mescalin in the water to weaken our resistance to tyranny!), does seem to have some medical support, for what that is worth in this context.

What should worry those of us living in rural areas are such questions as: 'Are the mechanics of chemical addition infallible?' Will the machinery be serviced continuously, day and night, by quali- fied engineers?' Will a large, clean, closed and stirred reservoir, holding a day's supply, be pro- vided to smooth out overdose irregularities?' Will a team of qualified shift chemists, in a properly equipped laboratory, be provided to measure col,. tinuously the fluoride content?' and, as might be proper to the dispensing of a drug, 'Will a qualified supervisory pharmacist be always in residence at the plant?'

Large water authorities serving the great cities might be prepared to meet all these conditions. but I can well imagine that in a rural area the mechanics of addition will come down to a small, unattended dose pump served at intervals by a council em- ployee with a bucket of chemical, all in some wild and isolated spot. It does seem to me that we should pay more attention to the practical problems before we are in a position to start arguing about the rights and wrongs of the principle of enforced medication.

N. 0. CLARK Torton. Driving Lane, Par, Cornwall