THE draft documents propose that councils should be able to consult on the controversial issue of fluoridation of the water supply.
Some water board areas south of the Border and many parts of the United States add fluoride to water in order to improve dental health. However, it has been opposed in Scotland amid worries that excess fluoride may be linked to brittle bones as well as to stomach and thyroid problems.
Labour insiders admit that the precise legislative details are still to be worked out and that the scheme will often involve neighbouring councils having to agree together to investigate fluoridation because of the fact that some reservoirs supply more than one area and that water supplies are not under the direct control of councils.
Other health policies include a school-style ban on unhealthy snacks and drinks in council-run sports centre vending machines, with sweets, crisps and sugary drinks replaced with fruit and mineral water.
Meanwhile, proposed education policies include recruiting more male teachers amid concern that schoolboys have too few male role models. Across primary and secondary schools, only a quarter of Scottish teachers are male, down from 30% a decade ago. Only 7% of primary teachers are male.
A spokesman for the main teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, agreed with the policy. “The continuing need to attract new teachers into the profession, including more male teachers, is an important issue,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association Scotland said of the fluoridation proposals: “We agree. Many of our specialists have encountered shocking cases of poor oral hygiene which is linked to many illness such as oral cancer.”