Wales is to take over responsibility for fluoride in water supplies, it was announced today.
Assembly Members will vote on the measure today, although little opposition is expected to the transfer of powers from Whitehall.
Local Government, Finance and Public Services Minister Sue Essex said the Welsh Assembly Government would give the issue “very careful consideration” before any decision on the issue.
She told reporters: “It would have to be given serious consideration, and it would have to sit alongside our campaign for health eating. A lot of our youngsters are imbued with sugar in a way people don’t realise. The contents (of some foods) are quite scary when you read them.
“Clearly there is the issue of civil liberties, and people do feel strongly one way or the other. What we would need to do is respect the fact that there are many people out there who are worried. Clearly the government would have to put all the facts together.”
Any change would have to be justified by a significant improvement in dental health, Ms Essex said.
Around 11% of the UK population drink water with added fluoride. Most are in the Midlands and the north east of England. None are in Wales.