BRUSSELS – Belgian public health minister Magda Aelvoet is sticking by her plans to ban food products containing fluoride, putting her on a collision course with the European Union.
The Belgian minister said she wanted fluoride supplements to be available only by doctor’s prescription, claiming the chemical can damage health.
Fluoride is on an EU list, approved last year, of substances that may be added to food products, and products containing such substances must be sold freely across the 15-nation block. Individual member states are supposed to translate the directive or euro law into national legislation by next August.
A spokesperson for the minister said the European legislation has not yet been finalised and that Aelvoet hopes she can still influence it.
At present Belgium is the only EU state with reservations about fluoride. A majority in the council of ministers is needed to influence the law.
Aelvoet said she would also like to ban toothpastes with high fluoride content, but said she would discuss the matter with the EU first.
She said she is particularly worried about children’s toothpaste and the problems that may occur if children swallow paste with too much fluoride.
Under EU rules Belgium can impose a ban on fluoride products, but the ban will be lifted next August when the EU directive comes into force.