HC Deb 09 May 1972 vol 836 cc1115-6
11. Sir G. Sinclair

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in view of the fact that the Swedish Parliament has now repealed the law permitting fluoridation, and, after 17 years of trial, the only fluoridation in Germany has been stopped, whether he will now give further consideration to the advisability of fluoridation in the United Kingdom.

Sir K. Joseph

No, Sir. I see no reason to question the advisability of fluoridating water supplies. I understand that in Sweden the repeal of the legislation was not based on medical or scientific evidence and that in Germany fluoridation was suspended because of doubts about its legality, doubts which the Federal Government are seeking to remove with amending legislation.

Sir G. Sinclair

Will not my right hon. Friend take note that the Governments of the countries about to form the enlarged European Community—France, Germany, with my right hon. Friend's modifications, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Denmark, and many other countries in Europe, including Sweden, Austria, Spain, Yugoslavia and Greece, have decided against fluoridation?

Sir K. Joseph

Enthusiastic European though I have always been and am, that does not mean that I must agree with every view of every country in Western Europe. But may I reassure my hon. Friend by telling him that I have no plans at present to introduce legislation on this matter?

Dr. Dickson Mabon

I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's answer, but will he confirm that the incidence of dental caries in this country is among the highest in the Western industrial nations, and that this kind of experiment, which has never been extensive in Great Britain, is an experiment to which we should give a fair wind?

Sir K. Joseph

I know that dental decay is a big problem in this country, but I think the hon. Gentleman should put down a Question on that.