HC Deb 23 March 1987 vol 113 cc4-5
4. Mr. Gareth Wardell

asked the Secretary of State for Wales which health authorities in Wales permit fluoridation of water supplies.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Mark Robinson)

The powers to permit fluoridation of water supplies rest with water authorities acting on requests from district health authorities. Certain areas within the Gwynedd and Powys district health authorities' areas currently receive fluoridated water supplies.

Mr. Wardell

Can the Minister confirm, first, that when some foods are cooked in water that has been fluoridated — especially acidic foods — and possibly cooked in aluminium utensils, there is a large ingestion of aluminium into the human body? Secondly, will he confirm that there is some research to show that Alzheimer's disease is linked to the ingestion of large quantities of aluminium? If those two statements are confirmed, will the hon. Gentleman ban the use of fluoride in water in Wales?

Mr. Robinson

The hypothesis that aluminium may be relevant to the cause of Alzheimer's disease is one of many under investigation. I am aware that the Medical Research Council is researching such a. hypothesis, and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the Government will give full consideration to any recommendations that may emerge.

Mr. Grist

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the incidence of dental caries has been falling considerably in recent years and that therefore there is no excuse to force fluoridation on to those many people who do not want it?

Mr. Robinson

I am aware of improvements in dental care, hut, at the same time, my hon. Friend should be aware that many parents are in favour of fluoridation.

Dr. Roger Thomas

Does the Minister agree that the reduction in dental caries on the island of Anglesey by over 50 per cent. over a period of 40 years is a glowing example of interventionist medicine?

Mr. Robinson

I certainly agree with the hon. Gentleman. Those findings have been borne out by recently conducted opinion research.

Mr. Best

Is my hon. Friend aware that the majority of people in Anglesey are against the artificial fluoridation of water supplies? Is my hon. Friend further aware that a recent survey conducted by the Ynys Môn and Isle of Anglesey borough council showed conclusively that the vast majority were against such fluoridation? Is he also aware that Gwynedd health authority continues artificially to fluoridate the water of Anglesey against the wishes of the people? Is it not about time that a non-elected health authority took some cognisance of the democratic wishes of the people?

Mr. Robinson

My hon. Friend is aware that fluoridation of the water in Anglesey has been a continuing policy for some time, certainly before the Bill that the Government recently piloted through the House of Commons.