House of Lords written question – answered on 27th February 2013.

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Photo of Earl Baldwin of Bewdley Earl Baldwin of Bewdley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 7 February 2011 (WA 18) and 16 January 2013 (WA 127), whether, in the light of suggestions of fluoride neurotoxicity in children by the recent systematic review published in 2012 by the Harvard School of Public Health, the likely timescale of any future research, and the actions of other fluoridated countries in similar latitudes, they will take steps now to reduce the concentration of fluoride in the water supply in the United Kingdom.

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 16 January (WA 127), whether they will also place in the Library of the House the 2012 report on developmental fluoride neurotoxicity by the Harvard School of Public Health.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The studies reviewed by the Harvard School of Public Health, which included a measure of fluoride concentration in drinking water, had concentrations as high as 11 milligrams per litre. In fluoridation schemes in England the target concentration is one milligram of fluoride per litre with a maximum concentration permitted of 1.5 milligrams per litre. The study referred to contains data from different areas of China and the measurements are not presented in a standardised format. This makes it difficult to interpret or draw conclusions. We would need to see studies in which the fluoride concentrations and measurement of IQ were more closely standardised before reviewing the 1 milligram concentration on the grounds of a possible effect on children's intelligence. A copy of the report of the review has been placed in the Library.

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