HC Deb 21 June 2004 vol 422 cc1273-4W
Mr. Crausby

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what factors underlay the decision to indemnify water companies from liabilities arising from water fluoridation; [178615]

(2) to what extent indemnity applies to the NHS authorities that may require private water companies to fluoridate their water supply. [178678]

Miss Melanie Johnson

Fluoridation is a public health intervention which water companies implement on behalf of strategic health authorities. The Water Fluoridation Act (1985) first made provision for the Secretary of State for Health to indemnify water undertakers because of the importance attached to the benefits fluoridation brings to dental health. Although there is no evidence of risks to health from fluoridation, it has been the policy of successive governments that the burden of any liabilities should be borne by the Crown, rather than by health authorities or the suppliers of the fluoridated water.