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Fluoridation

Volume 712: debated on Monday 20 July 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 20 May (WA 323–4) and 9 June (WA 143), whether the conclusion of “no clear association” between water fluoridation and cancer as distinct from “no evidence of risk” applies to (a) bone problems, and (b) infant mortality, congenital defects and IQ problems for which the York reviewers in 2000 recommended further high quality research. [HL5037]

The systematic review of water fluoridation conducted by the University of York found “no clear association” between water fluoridation and hip fracture, overall cancer incidence and mortality, osteosarcoma and bone/joint cancers and thyroid cancer. The report concluded:

“The outcomes related to infant mortality, congenital defects and Intelligence Quotient (IQ) indicate a need for further high quality research, using appropriate analytical methods to control for confounding factors”.

The department continues to fund research into the effects of fluoridation and monitor the outcome of research studies conducted elsewhere. For example, an appraisal of selected studies reporting an association between fluoride in drinking water and IQ commissioned by South Central Strategic Health Authority concluded:

“The lack of a thorough consideration of confounding as a source of bias means that, from these studies alone, it is uncertain how far fluoride is responsible for any impairment in intellectual development seen. The amount of naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water and from other sources and the socioeconomic characteristics in the areas studied is different from the United Kingdom and so these studies do not have direct application to the local population of Southampton”.

The report of the appraisal is available at www.southcentral.nhs.uk/fluoridation/page.php?area _id=9996&id=6.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 20 May (WA 323–4), whether the Chief Dental Officer will now remove the claim in paragraph 5 of his February 2008 letter to strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and others (Gateway 9361), that the York review confirmed that there was “no evidence of any risk to health”; and whether he will notify the original recipients of the revision. [HL5038]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 18 May (WA 254) in which they rely on public statements made by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) about its systematic review of fluoridation, whether they also accept the public statements by scientists involved with the York review on which the NHMRC explicitly based its findings that “the review did not show water fluoridation to be safe”, and that the evidence for any reduction in dental health inequalities was “of poor quality, contradictory and unreliable”. [HL5039]

The Chief Dental Officer is considering issuing further information to the National Health Service in the light of lessons learnt from the South Central Strategic Health Authority's consultation on fluoridation, research published since the York review and statements made by the scientists involved in the review.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in assessing the findings of Dr Peter Mansfield, based on the most recent published figures of population fluoride intakes by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, which were communicated to the Chief Dental Officer in December 2008 and discussed with him on 19 January 2009; whether the Chief Dental Officer or a colleague will consider associating themselves as co-authors of any resulting scientific paper; and whether they will promote the adoption of measures to screen for excessive fluoride intake, for example by means of a urine dipstick. [HL5154]

We have sought advice from the Health Protection Agency and the Food Standards Agency on Dr Mansfield's analysis and we will be letting him have our comments when we have taken their views into account.