A move to put fluoride in milk and tap water in an attempt to combat tooth decay sparked fury today.

The plan is being considered by the Scottish Executive, but opponents promised they would go to court to fight it.

Glasgow Baillieston MP Jimmy Wray has campaigned against fluoridation in the past and said:

”We will be fighting these proposals all the way. There is no proof fluoridation is good for teeth.

”We have exhausted all the courts in Scotland, but will be taking it to the European Court of Human Rights because it is a breach of the civil liberties of the individual.

”The biggest majority of people in Scotland are against it.”

As recently as 1993 the former Strathclyde Regional Council, decided against putting fluoride in the water supply after a legal challenge.

However, the measure, along with the suggestion about putting fluoride in milk, are listed in a consultation paper to be published tomorrow by the Executive.

It will also ask if fluoride toothpaste should be made available in schools and nurseries.

A spokesman for the Executive stressed its position was ”strictly neutral” about adding the chemical to the water supply.

But with dental health in Scotland among the worst in the world, Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm is determined to tackle the problem.

Figures show 60% of children living in the most deprived areas suffer dental disease by the age of three and 55% have tooth decay by the time they are five.

Researchers at Liverpool University suggested putting fluoridated milk into supermarkets as part of a pilot programme to find out if it would be effective.

The findings of a study on Merseyside where fluoride was added to school milk will be published shortly.

Scottish Deputy Health Minister Mary Mulligan said: ”We are asking people if they think fluoride is necessary and how it should be administered.”

Ministers have been studying areas within the 10% of Britain where fluoride has already been added to the public water supply. The effects are claimed to have halved the level of child tooth decay, but fluoride has also been linked to mottling of teeth, cancer and brittle bone disease.

Campaigners dispute claims tooth decay in areas which have fluoridated water are significantly lower. They say putting fluoride into drinking water is toxic and a potential killer.

Environment campaigner Rosie Kane said: ”We think of fluoride as a white minty gel, but it’s an industrial by-product from the inside of chimneys and has even been used in bomb-making.

”It is not something everyone can tolerate. There are people who have fluoride allergy and it can result in different bone diseases, particularly in young men.”

SNP health spokeswoman Nicola Sturgeon said she was ”very sceptical” about the use of fluoride.

She said: ”There is medical evidence that fluoride benefits oral health, but there are also concerns about possible damage to health.”