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Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 24 September 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those studies which his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the potential dangers and side effects of fluoridated water supplies; if he will list those dangers or side effects; and when he expects his Department to complete the current review of the fluoridation programme. [16501]

Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of fluoridation of water supplies rests not on the results of a few studies but on the assessments of the very extensive, relevant published scientific literature on the effects of fluoride (including human exposure to fluoride present naturally in drinking water), and on the results of more than half a century of fluoridation. No serious side effects have been identified from fluoridating water by one part of fluoride per million parts of water (the optimum level), but we continue to monitor and evaluate the progress of the programme.We cannot at present predict when we will complete our review.