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House of Lords Hansard
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29 January 2001
Volume 621
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asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answers by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 17 January (

WA 136), whether the terms of reference of the Medical Research Council's Working Group are (in part) "To provide advice on current scientific evidence regarding the health effects of water fluoridation"; and, if so, why they consider this task to be necessary given that the National Health Service Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at York has already provided such advice in the report of a systematic scientific review which they themselves commissioned; and [HL451]

Further to the Written Answers by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 17 January ( WA 136) which stated that they have asked the Medical Research Council (MRC) "to suggest how it might be possible to strengthen the evidence currently available" on water fluoridation, whether the terms of reference of the MRC's Working Group are (in part) "To consider whether further research in this area is required"; and, if so, how these two statements can be reconciled. [HL452]

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The York report found that there was a lack of high quality research into the area of fluoride and health and the Government wish to remedy this shortcoming. The Department of Health has, therefore, asked the Medical Research Council (MRC) to assess what further research might be required.We have provisionally agreed with the MRC that its terms of reference should be:

  • (a) Provide advice on current scientific evidence regarding the health effects of water fluoridation;
  • (b) Consider whether further research in this area is required to inform public health policy;
  • (c) Report to the MRC Physiological Medicine and Infections Board and the MRC Health Services and Public Health Research Board;
  • (d) Report to the Department of Health.
  • The MRC has let us know that the working group may wish to refine these terms of reference at its first meeting in February.