A kick in the teeth
It was hailed as a harmless chemical that would prevent tooth decay. But a new book claims that fluoride could be linked to serious health problems.
Tuesday June 8, 2004
Source: The Guardian
A 50-year-old medical controversy is about to be re-ignited. The government is considering the introduction of further fluoridation schemes throughout the country. To facilitate that, the Water Act passed last November indemnified water companies from civil or criminal actions as a result of adding fluoride to public water supplies.
Fluoridation was first advanced in the United States at the end of the second world war. Proponents argued that fluoride in water and toothpaste would help to protect teeth and prevent decay. It was a time of scientific evangelism, when chemicals meant progress and the public trusted them to bring about a safer, cleaner future.
Throughout the 1950s and 60s, fluoride was added to public water supplies not just across the US but also in Britain. The areas now served by the Severn Trent, Northumbrian and Anglian water companies are fluoridated, mainly those in the West Midlands and Tyneside - about 10% of the UK population. Much of the Republic of Ireland has been fluoridated since 1964.