17 Jan 2013

House of Lords

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the implications for water fluoridation policy of the findings of the systematic review of developmental fluoride neurotoxicity, published in October 2012 by the Harvard School of Public Health. [HL4465]

Earl Howe: The authors of the review concluded that their results:

"support the possibility of an adverse effect of high fluoride exposure on children's neurodevelopment. Future research should include detailed individual-level information on prenatal exposure, neurobehavioral performance, and covariates for adjustment".
Bazian, an organisation of independent health researchers, also reviewed the Chinese research studies on behalf of South Central Strategic Health Authority and found that the study design and methods used by many of the researchers had serious limitations. The researchers reported,

"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. For example, the amount of naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water and from other sources, and the socioeconomic characteristics in the areas studied was different from those found in the UK".
Nevertheless, we agree that this is an issue which merits further research and the department will be monitoring the results of further studies closely. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library.

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