A controversial Belgian attempt to ban food supplements and chewing gum containing fluoride fell foul of European law yesterday after the European commission said that any such ban would be illegal.
The Belgian government angered dentists across Europe earlier this week when it announced that it intended to become the first EU government to outlaw fluoride-related products – with the exception of toothpaste – on health grounds.
The country’s health minister, Magda Aelvoet, claimed that too much fluoride could damage the nervous system and might cause brittle bones or osteoporosis, especially in children, although she conceded it was effective at preventing tooth decay.
She also promised to push for a European ban on such products and threatened to extend Belgium’s unilateral ban to cover children’s toothpaste. But the commission put Belgium on notice yesterday that any such ban would conflict with EU legislation due to take effect next year.