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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Warner on 9 October 2006 (WA 38), (a) when and in what form guidance was issued to Strategic Health Authorities about monitoring appropriate health indices relating to the effects of existing water fluoridation schemes; and (b) how many health monitoring schemes are now in operation.
A duty to monitor the effects of fluoridation on persons living in areas covered by fluoridation schemes was inserted in Section 90 A of the Water Industry Act 1991 by the Water Act 2003. Strategic health authorities (SHAs) were required to publish a report on the results of the monitoring at four yearly intervals. This section of the Act was commenced in February 2009 but, as the order which applied the provisions of the Act to the existing pre-1985 fluoridation schemes was not made until March 2010, the first reports are not due until March 2014. We have just undertaken a consultation with academic experts on the indicators which might be monitored. We shall be issuing guidance to SHAs after considering the comments received. Public Health Observatories already publish health profiles with overviews of health for each local authority. These show no significant variation between the health of residents in fluoridated areas and elsewhere except that oral health is better in areas where the level of fluoride in the water supply is around the one milligram per litre level. The more detailed monitoring will build upon these findings.