Fluoride Action Network

U.K. Parliament – Q&A on fluoridation

Source: Name of Newspaper or source | May 5th, 2011
Location: United Kingdom, England

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether it is his policy that future decisions about the fluoridation of water supplies shall be taken by elected local authorities following the abolition of strategic health authorities. [52429]

Anne Milton: Yes. We propose that local authorities should conduct consultations and ascertain public opinion on proposals for new fluoridation schemes, while contracts for existing (and any new) schemes will become the responsibility of the Secretary of State.

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the outcome of fluoridation exercises in countries where health authorities (i) continue to and (ii) have ceased administration of fluoride to water supplies; and if he will make a statement. [52432]

Anne Milton: A Systematic Review of Water Fluoridation, which was commissioned by the Department from the university of York in 1999 and published in 2000, showed that, on the best available evidence, fluoridation increased the proportion of children without tooth decay by 15% and that children in fluoridated areas had, on average, 2.25 fewer teeth affected by decay than children in non-fluoridated areas.

Evidence from epidemiological surveys of child dental health, which are carried out at regular intervals, confirms that these benefits continue. An example of the effects of cessation is provided by a study of Anglesey(1) where fluoridation commenced in 1955, became intermittent from 1987 and ceased in 1991. In 1987-88, the last year of optimal fluoridation, the mean number of decayed, missing and filled teeth (dmft) of five-year-old children was 0.80. By 1993 average dmft had increased to 2.01 with a dmft of 1.81 among those who had experienced fluoridation during approximately 35 % of their lives and one of 2.28 for those who had experienced fluoridation for less than 10% of their lives.

(1) Fluoridation in Anglesey 1993: a clinical study of dental caries in five-year-old children who had experienced sub-optimal fluoridation F. D. Thomas/J. Y. Kassab and B. M. Jones British Dental Journal 178, 55-59 (1995)

Fluoride: Southampton

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the proceedings of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Hampshire county council of 14 March 2011, what reports he has received on the plans of South Central Strategic Health Authority to proceed with fluoridation of drinking water supplies in and near Southampton; and if he will call in these plans for review. [52431]

Anne Milton: We understand that on 31 March, South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) asked Southern Water to proceed with the fluoridation of drinking water in Southampton and part of South West Hampshire following the outcome of the judicial review, which upheld the SHA’s decision. The relevant legislation provides for these decisions to be taken locally.


Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department issues to strategic health authorities on the factors to take into account in determining whether to use fluoride in the local water supply. [53621]

Anne Milton: The Chief Dental Officer’s letter ‘Fluoridation of Drinking Water’, issued in February 2008 under Gateway reference 9361, refers. A copy has already been placed in the Library and is available at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_082665.pdf
The Health and Social Care Bill proposes that responsibility for consultations on proposals for fluoridation schemes should transfer to local authorities, in which case we will issue revised guidance on the conduct of consultations and taking account of public opinion.