HEALTH bosses are set to decide in September whether to back plans to add fluoride to the water supply in East Lancashire.
A report by the North West Fluoridation Evaluation Group is calling on all 24 PCTs in the North West to add fluoride into the water supply at a cost of more than £102m.
The report has revealed that 63 per cent of five-year-olds in the area covered by Blackburn with Darwen Primary Care Trust suffered from tooth decay, and on average 3.21 of their teeth were decayed, missing or filled.
East Lancashire PCT faired average in the report where 2.13 teeth were decayed, missing or filled in five year olds and 47 per cent affected by tooth decay.
The trusts will consider the issue in September after looking at evidence put together by a joint meeting of representatives from PCTs across the North West.
They will then decide if they want to ask the Strategic Health Authority (SHA) to explore the possibility of water fluoridation.
The SHA is the body that would decide whether or not to have water fluoridation and such a move would only happen following a widespread public consultation.
East Lancashire PCT chief executive David Peat said: “Water fluoridation is one possible intervention to improve dental health but there is a lot to consider. We will reflect on the evidence from the joint committee in the light of our oral health strategy and decide whether we wish to consider the matter further.
A spokesperson for Blackburn with Darwen PCT, also known as NHS Blackburn with Darwen, said: “The North West Strategic Health Authority (SHA) has asked NHS Blackburn with Darwen to indicate whether or not we wish this possibility to be explored.
“The PCT Board is expected to consider this issue in September and will then indicate to the SHA whether or not we wish it to develop full proposals for a scheme which would enable water supplies to the population of Blackburn with Darwen to be fluoridated.”
East Lancashire PCT’s board members will discuss the matter at their meeting on Thursday, September 25, at Clayton-le-Moors Conference Centre.