WATER SUPPLIES: THE threat of fluoridation of water supplies raises its ugly head again (Echo, Jul 30) with another dubious survey of five-year-olds' teeth.

The only proven effect fluoride has is to delay the onset of secondary teeth by up to two years.

Thus, fluoridated five-year-olds appear to have less decay simply because they have fewer secondary teeth. Independent surveys show consistently that by the age of ten, the fluoride-delayed teeth have 'caught up' and display similar amounts of decay. Surprisingly, some fluoridated ten-year-olds have more decay than unfluoridated children.

The Government never publishes those results. This explains why they always survey only five-year-olds.

Also, it never explains that fluoride is a listed poison comparable with lead and arsenic; that a family-sized tube of toothpaste contains enough fluoride to kill a small child; that over 50 per cent of fluoride consumed is not eliminated but accumulates in bones, tissue and brain to cause long-term harm.

There can be no justification for poisoning our children. It is up to each of us to refuse to be brain-washed by fluoridation propaganda. So, when consulted, say "No" to fluoridation. - Alan Hall, National Pure Water Association, Darlington.


AT the risk of stating the obvious, we have in Durham Cathedral and its surrounds a uniquely important world heritage site - though one which we locals are far too ready to take for granted.

We need, therefore, to remind ourselves of how their first sight of the Cathedral affects the people from further afield.

John Ruskin, the famous art critic, described the view of it from Wharton Park as "The Eighth Wonder of the World".

Nicholas Pevsner, the historian of architecture, said there was nowhere else like it.

An international poll of architects some years ago voted the Cathedral the most beautiful building in the world, pushing the Taj Mahal and the Parthenon into second and third place respectively.

This being so, why are tourist services in the city so unsatisfactory? For a start, how about providing a decent restaurant? There isn't one at present, while the fare served up in the city pubs is unrelievedly grotty and, that in the Cathedral itself is not better - plus the service is bad there.

This is a disgraceful situation, and one that surely undermines our tourist industry, upon which our regional economy depends more than we realise. - Tony Kelly, Crook.


WHEN terrorists threaten our lives because we are Westerners, Arabs drive black Sudanese from their lands, and suicide bombers blow up Israelis, this is not condemned as racism.

But as soon as the Rev Peter Mullen says he does not feel safe in his own land, he is immediately accused of being on the side of war, division, xenophobia, racism (HAS, Aug 2).

I would like to say I don't feel safe in my own land either, and I think it is criminal of this left-wing Government to allow into this country those who threaten our land and our existence. I would like to express solidarity with Mr Mullen. - Patrick Jenkins, Barnard Castle.


EUROPEAN Union trade accounts for one fifth of world exports and imports. It takes the view that trade should be open and fair to all countries of the world. Its policy is to open its markets to imports from outside the Union providing its trading partners open their markets.

The EU common tariff on imports means that the Union has been able to be a strong player in successive trade liberalisation negotiations where the aim has been to reduce tariffs and remove other barriers to world trade. The heavy investment in the latest round of negotiations bears testament to the Union's support for the World Trade Organisation rules. These provide transparency and a degree of legal certainty over such issues as 'dumping' - selling goods below cost in another country.

The Union has a policy of duty free or reduced tariffs to its markets for developing countries with the aim of integrating them into the world economy. The 49 poorest countries enjoy duty free entry under a programme launched in 2001.

Trade and association agreements with the countries of the Mediterranean Basin, (the Barcelona Process), and the Africa-Pacific-Caribbean group of countries also have world trade integration as the aim of the Union.

Given that Union members understand that it takes time to bring about significant change, we need to patiently support the efforts of which we are a part. The Barcelona process was started in 1995 and it is expected to last until 2010. There have been some significant unsung steps forward in the process such as Libya being admitted as an observer. We should rejoice that this work takes us another step towards peace in a troubled world. - Bill Morehead, Darlington.


I HAVE just had the misfortune to read an article about former Darlington Football Club owner George Reynolds (Echo, Jul 30).

I would like to say how annoyed and disappointed I am about how this newspaper continues to support the inane ramblings and movements of a man who has quite simply "lost the plot".

This town and its local paper should be concentrating their efforts more on forgetting this "pied piper" who brought nothing but disgrace on the club, this town and this region.

He is, never was, and never will be a "local hero". I can assure you that there are a lot more deserving people in this community who fit that title a lot more than George Reynolds ever will.

Your newspaper needs to take a long hard look at itself.

George Reynolds has been a blight on the landscape of this town for too long, and as he prepares to ride off into the sunset let's hope he never thinks to turn back.

As for The Northern Echo, let's just say your end of term report should include the words "could do a lot better".

I remain proud to be born and bred in Darlington. - Simon Wood, Leeds.


I AM convinced that a regional assembly would be quite wrong for the North-East.

I am strongly of the view that local government works best if the governed community has a community feeling, with common interests and needs; pride in the place one lives in is important too.

This does not apply to the North-East (or, for that matter, to any of the proposed regions in England). The region seems to have been decided on the basis of arbitrary lines drawn on a map of the country - this sort of system has been used before, and it never works.

Devolution to Scotland or Wales is quite different: their disparate areas are held together by a strong sense of nationalism.

More responsibility should be given to existing councils. This would raise their status, sadly low due to increased centralisation. - David M Bishop, Guisborough.