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Fluoridation

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 6 April 2010

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 23 February (WA 282-3), (a) why South Central Strategic Health Authority in its 2008 public consultation document on water fluoridation stated that the 2006 osteosarcoma study by Elise Bassin “was part of a larger study [13]”, and did not state in the text (4.6) or references section (6.0) that their reference 13 was to a letter and not to a larger study; (b) whether that statement took account of good scientific practice; and (c) why the strategic health authority stated in 4.6 that the West Midlands Cancer Intelligence Unit had completed detailed analyses of bladder cancer and osteosarcoma, when the referenced study [14] had not addressed osteosarcoma. [HL2920]

I do not consider that the strategic health authority (SHA) has been misleading. The letter cited in the consultation document refers to a larger study in which two sets of cases have been collected over the period 1993-2000. The SHA was seeking to summarise research findings in a format accessible to the public. The reference to the bladder cancer study would have informed readers of the role of the West Midlands Cancer Intelligence Unit from where they could gave obtained the unit's osteosarcoma study to which I referred in my earlier reply.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Baroness Thornton on 23 February (WA 282-3), what further steps will be taken to assess the risks of osteosarcoma in young males who have resided in fluoridated areas, given that the 2006 study by Elise Bassin has not been refuted, and given the difficulty of analyses such as that by the West Midlands Cancer Intelligence Unit in detecting harms among populations; and whether the proposed study by the Bone Cancer Research Trust will address that question. [HL2921]

I can confirm that the Bone Cancer Research Trust will address the question of whether there is an association between the fluoridation of drinking water and osteosarcoma. We will be examining the results of the study closely to see if there is any correlation with Dr Bassin's findings.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 20 July 2009 (WA 280), what advice if any they have received about the analysis by Dr Peter Mansfield of unpublished data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2000–2001 suggesting an overconsumption of fluoride among populations receiving fluoridated water. [HL3072]

I have been advised that only a small proportion of the adult population sampled in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey would have exceeded upper limits on fluoride consumption recommended by the European Food Safety Authority and the American Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. Birmingham has been fluoridated since the 1960s and there are areas of the United States of America that have been fluoridated since the late 1940s, but no long-term effects on health have been identified. Some ingested fluoride is taken up in the bones, but the systematic review of water fluoridation conducted by the National Health Service Centre for Reviews and Dissemination of the University of York found no association between water fluoridation and bone fracture.