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Fluoride

Volume 75: debated on Tuesday 12 March 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what studies Her Majesty's Government have made, or are aware of, as to the extent of ingestion of fluoride by the population as a result of eating food such as vegetables grown on land irrigated with fluoride-containing water or processed in water containing fluoride; what conclusions have been drawn;; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 Februray, c. 140]: There is a great deal of research which indicates that there is no significant increase in the uptake of fluoride by vegetables grown on land irrigated with fluoridated water. The studies are reviewed by Davison in "Proceedings of the International Fluoride Symposium", Utah 1982.Studies of the fluoride content of processed foods and beverages prepared with water containing fluoride at a concentration of 1 mg/litre indicate that such products may contain up to 0·5mg/kg more fluoride than those prepared with water containing almost no fluoride—Marier and Rose, "Journal of Food Science," 31, 941–946; Auermann, Fluoride, 678–83; Bocker and Bruce Var Föda 33 198–261. This would be true whether this concentration of fluoride in the water was natually occurring or brought about by artificial addition of fluoride. In a study undertaken by the food science division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, carbonated beverages made with non-fluoridated water had a mean fluoride concentration of 0·12 mg/kg, while carbonated beverages made with fluoridated water had a mean fluoride concentration of 0·41 mg/kg, a difference of 0·29 mg/kg — Sherlock, J. Roy — Society Health 1 34–36 (1984). Since processed foods and beverages are not the major part of the diet, the increase in ingestion of fluoride as a consequence of the use of fluoridated water in processing is small.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make fluoride tablets available on prescription to those persons who are medically advised that they should take fluoride as a prophylactic, in areas where fluoride is not present in the water supplies at a level of one milligram per litre; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 4 March, c. 419–20]: No. Studies have shown that it is in practice difficult for many parents to maintain the necessary daily regime of administration of fluoride tablets over the many years of tooth formation. We therefore do not consider that it would be cost effective to provide this particular form of supplementation for prophylaxis.