Darlington Borough Council’s leading members voted to carry out a technical appraisal to inform possible consideration of a water fluoridation scheme across the borough or the Tees Valley.

The study will look at whether the water distribution network is able to support any potential fluoridation scheme and the potential impact on neighbouring areas.

The Cabinet meeting was told a technical appraisal had already been commissioned by Middlesbrough Borough Council on the behalf of NHS England and the other Tees authorities.

Councillor Chris Taylor, chair of the council’s Joint Review Group examining children’s health issues in the town, said the evidence of links between fluoride in water and lower incidences of dental decay in nearby towns had led to the move.

Councillor Cyndi Hughes, the council’s children and young people’s boss, added: “The fluoridation question came out of the information and evidence that far too many young people are admitted to hospital because of dental caries at very young ages, so this is coming from an evidence base already.”

Suggestions that the town’s water supply could be fluoridated have already drawn controversy, with campaigners questioning the safety of the mineral.

Councillor Heather Scott said: “It has got to be emphasised this is just a technical appraisal. Quite a few of us as councillors have already been receiving objections to it. That’s not what we’re talking about here, it’s just about finding the evidence.”

While the council would fund any water fluoridation programme, the cost of the technical appraisal, which is yet to be finalised, is being shared across all participating councils within the Tees Valley and NHS England. Funding has been earmarked from existing budgets and there is not expected to be an extra financial impact on Darlington council.

*Original article online at http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/16838005.fluoride-in-water-study-in-darlington-is-supported/