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Fluoridation

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 21 November 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 12 July (WA 242), how parents in artificially fluoridated areas who rely on reconstituted infant formula are made aware of the Department of Health's advice to use water with a low fluoride content; and where the department recommends that they obtain it. [HL7]

An advice note is on the website of the British Fluoridation Society. If parents make inquiries of the department, they are offered a copy of the note.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 1 October (WA 145) and in the light of the response to the report of the United States National Research Council in March 2006 on the potential risks of water fluoridation at 4 parts per million (ppm), whether the findings of the report have relevance for areas fluoridated at 1 ppm in view both of the wide variations in individual human response and of the council's finding that infants and young children are three to four times as susceptible to fluoride as adults; and [HL8]

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 1 October (WA 145–46), whether they will now address the possibility that infants and young children may suffer a range of adverse effects through water fluoridated at 1 part per million (ppm), in the light of the finding by the United States National Research Council in 2006 that these effects are similar to those for adults at 4pm for which the council found evidence of potential harm to bone strength, IQ, brain chemistry and function, and thyroid and other endocrine functions; and [HL9]

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 1 October (WA 145–6), why they now believe that the findings of the United States National Research Council (NRC) in March 2006 are “not directly applicable” to water fluoridation in the United Kingdom because of the differing concentrations of fluoride involved, when as indicated by the Written Answer by Lord Warner on 24 July 2006 (WA 240) they had delayed their own research programme in order to take account of the NRC's findings in the knowledge that the council were addressing fluoridation at the higher concentration of 4 parts per million. [HL10]

The main recommendation of the National Research Council's (NRC) committee on fluoride in drinking water that the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum fluoride level of 4 parts per million (ppm) should be lowered is not relevant to the United Kingdom where the maximum concentration permitted is 1.5 ppm. The findings of the NRC report are consistent with our view that water is safe and healthy at the levels used for water fluoridation. However, the committee's report includes a wide-ranging review of the effects of fluoride with a number of recommendations for further research, which are informing the development of our research programme. While we remain of the view that the only risk to infants and young children from their higher exposure to fluoride is the cosmetic effects of dental fluorosis, we will ensure that research and monitoring of the effects of water fluoridation on systematic health is sensitive to any unique effects on this age group.