Title: Flouride [sic] study first phase should be done by end of year
The results of a study to determine whether water fluoridation is technically possible and how much it would cost are still not available almost two years after it was commissioned.
Shocking levels of dental decay in young children in the district prompted Simon Morritt, chief executive of NHS Bradford and Airedale, to request that Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority commission the study in November 2008.
It was due to be completed in April this year, but six months later it remains unclear if fluoridation of the region’s water supplies is possible.
Support for the fluoridation of water is key to NHS Bradford and Airedale’s oral health-action plan as it believes the move would reduce tooth decay.
A spokesman for NHS Yorkshire and the Humber said: “The Department of Health published guidance in 2008 to help improve dental health and reduce health inequalities by considering the option of fluoridating the local water supply, alongside other options. “The feasibility study is the first step in an extensive process and will establish if topping up the natural level of fluoride is technically feasible.
“The first phase of the study is under way and we are expecting the completion of this stage later this year.”
A spokesman for Yorkshire Water said: “Fluoride is not added to the water supply in Yorkshire at the moment. It is important to recognise that, although we supply the majority of residents, Yorkshire Water plays no part in the decision-making process.
“The company has no view on the issue but is obliged to act on a decision by the Strategic Health Authority, following consultation with the public.
“If the study indicates fluoridation is possible, then the Strategic Health Authority has the option of consulting the public. If the majority support the addition of fluoride, then the next step would be for the Strategic Health Authority to approach Yorkshire Water to request it. The Strategic Health Authority can request that fluoride is added to the water supply, even if the majority of the public oppose it.”