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Drinking Water

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is of the number of households using water filter devices for providing drinking water in the UK in each year since 1992. [99231]

The Department has no direct responsibility for domestic water filters and does not compile or keep records of numbers of users or of sales. Based on information that British water has provided, however, a best available estimated figure for annual sales of plumbed-in water filters is between 20,000–25,000 during the period 1991–2001.We have no information on numbers of households using jug water filters.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications for the environment of adding fluoride to drinking water. [99203]

A review of the effect of fluoride on a range of aquatic life was carried out for the Environment Agency when deriving a non-statutory environmental quality standard (EQS) for fluoride in water, which was published in 2000. The review drew on research carried out by a range of recognised scientific laboratories and available data indicated that effects on aquatic life from fluoride occur at concentrations between 9.0–350mg/l. Where fluoridation schemes are in place, fluoride is added to maintain a concentration of 1.0 mg/1 in drinking water which is well below these levels. Any discharges will be further diluted upon entry to the aquatic environment through the process of collection and treatment of waste water.A copy of the review has been deposited in the Library of the House.