HC Deb 02 February 1971 vol 810 cc1441-2
7. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many local health authorities to the most convenient date, in England, empowered to bring in fluoridation of water supplies, have voted to do so, how many have refused to do so and how many are still undecided.

Sir K. Joseph

According to my information, 94 English local health authorities and authorities with delegated health functions have voted in favour of fluoridation, 85 are against, and five have not yet reached a decision. Two authorities have sufficient fluoride in the water supplies without fluoridation.

Mr. Rankin

Do the right hon. Gentleman's proposals mean that individuals who have artificial teeth and individuals who have no teeth whatsoever will require to swallow this fluoride water, and to what purpose—[Interruption.]—especially for mixing with their whisky? Would it not be wiser if the right hon. Gentleman dealt with those affected, the children, and gave them, where the parents consented, the appropriate treatment by means of pellets?

Sir K. Joseph

That is quite a different question, but it remains a free country.

Mr. Pavitt

Will the right hon. Gentleman do something about the position in London? In view of the evidence which the hon. Gentleman's Department has had for more than 20 years about the usefulness of fluoridation of water to prevent dental caries, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to look into the position in London where we have 32 boroughs under one water authority and a minority can preclude the rest from having this useful idea?

Sir K. Joseph

It is very frustrating to those of us, including the Government, who believe that fluoride is a valuable preventive to dental decay. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will first persuade his hon. Friend and then crusade in the areas concerned.

Mr. Paget

Cannot the Government do something about this obscurantist agitation to prevent the use of a valuable additive at a very cheap price which could be of such enormous benefit? Why must the Government sit under it and allow this agitation to intimidate one local authority after another?

Sir K. Joseph

This Government, like the last Government, have not failed to make clear their view that fluoridation is a valuable and harmless preventive to dental decay.