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Fluoride (Water Supplies)

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he has received from (a) the Chief Medical Officer and (b) the Chief Dental Officer on the implications of the recent Medical Research Council report on water fluoridation for the Government's policy on fluoridation. [111468]

We have asked the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Dental Officer to consider how the success of existing fluoridation schemes in improving oral health, and the oral health benefits residents of naturally fluoridated areas enjoy, might be extended to other communities who wish it. The Medical Research Council has identified and prioritised the research necessary to strengthen the evidence base on fluoridation and the Department is already taking action to commission appropriate research.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has commissioned comparing the bio-availability of artificial and naturally occurring fluoride in water supplies; and when the findings of such research will be made publicly available. [111469]

Following a competitive tendering exercise, research has been commissioned from the School of Dental Sciences at Newcastle University. The aims of the study are to investigate the effect of water hardness and source of fluoride ion on bio-availability of fluoride in drinking water by comparing the relative bio-availability of fluoride in: artificially fluoridated hard and naturally fluoridated hard tap drinking water; artificially fluoridated soft and naturally fluoridated soft tap drinking water; artificially fluoridated hard and artificially fluoridated soft tap drinking water; and naturally fluoridated hard and naturally fluoridated soft tap drinking water. The study is due for completion in the Autumn.