25 Feb 2014

House of Lords

Earl Howe: My Lords, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is the body charged by government to advise Ministers, and the decision will be taken by Ministers. But we have thought it prudent and sensible to take into account the latest data on the folate status of the population. The information that SACN drew from is more than a decade old, and we do not think that that is a sensible basis on which to take a decision one way or the other. So we must wait for that evaluation.
The Countess of Mar (CB): My Lords, does the Minister agree that there is an equal conundrum with adding fluoride to water? Her Majesty’s Government seem to be quite happy that fluoride should be added to water, yet there is a possibility of overdose if people have fluoride tablets, fluoride toothpaste and all sorts of other things. What is the difference between that and folates?
Earl Howe: My Lords, as the noble Countess says, the issues are in many ways similar. As she knows, in the case of fluoride, Parliament has taken the decision that it should be a local matter and that is how the system now works.*

*Except for those already fluoridated.

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