A ROW has erupted after council chiefs said they wanted fluoride added to milk offered to children in every Glasgow primary school and nursery.
The plan would see the chemical, which health chiefs say prevents tooth decay, put into milk provided for thousands of youngsters.
City council bosses today revealed they backed the move first proposed by the Scottish Executive last year.
However, campaigners, who fear there are serious health risks, condemned the council’s support for the plan.
Glasgow Baillieston MP Jimmy Wray, who has battled against the use of flouride, said today: “This is mass medication and I am totally against it.”
Campaigners dispute claims that tooth decay in areas which have fluoridated water are significantly lower.
They say there is scientific evidence that putting fluoride into water and milk can cause health problems.
Later this week, Glasgow City Council’s development and regeneration director Rodger McConnell will call on councillors to back his response to the Executive’s consultation document.
He said: “A programme providing a choice of fluoridated milk in nurseries and primary schools would be viewed as a positive measure by the council.”
However, the council chief is concerned about public reaction to going a step further by adding fluoride to the public water supply.
He said: “The council is aware there are strong and opposing professional and scientific views on this matter as well as widespread disagreement among the wider public.
“Safe levels of fluoride in water could be seen as a panacea for overcoming poor oral care and dietary choice.
“However, there would still be a need to change behaviour in the longer term.”
The Executive says it is possible to add fluoride to milk without changing its flavour or nutrient content and the council says children will not be forced to drink it.
However, Mr Wray said he feared some teachers would encourage children to drink milk with added fluoride.
He said: “In all the studies, nobody has said 100% that fluoride is good for teeth.
“Birmingham has had fluoride in the water for 25 years and has more dentists than any other part of the country.
“As far as fluoride in milk is concerned, a teacher who is pro-fluoride may give it to pupils … which would breach their civil liberties.”
Barry Groves, who wrote Drinking Ourselves To Death, about fluoride, said he was horrified at the plan.
He added: “Schools will have to ask parents if they want their child to have the milk and then you have the problem of who is going to police it so the pupils who don’t want it don’t get it.
“The safety aspect for human consumption has not yet been proved and this is not good news.”