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Breakfast Friday, 13 June, 2003, 04:46 GMT 05:46 UK
The case for fluoride in water
The case for adding fluoride to water
Should water authorities add fluoride to water?
Proposals are going through Parliament this week to enable local councils to force water companies to add fluoride to domestic water supplies.

The British Dental Association claim that adding fluoride is one of the most effective ways of strengthening children's teeth and cutting decay.

Opponents however say the substance is dangerous to health and the benefits to teeth are not proven.

  • Breakfast is testing the 'water' on both sides of the debate with two special reports

  • Today we looked at the argument in favour of fluoride with Professor Liz Kay who is a professor of dental health services - you can see that report by clicking on the link below


    Tomorrow we will be hearing from Jane Jones from the National Pure Water Association.

  • We want to hear from you, should water companies be forced to add fluoride to water?

    Click here to e-mail us with your views

    Liz Kay

    Professor Kay says at the moment it's up to water companies to decide if fluoride is added to the water supply.

    Fluoride Facts
    Dentists say fluoride prevents decay
    Only large doses of fluoride are harmful
    One part per million can be enough to prevent decay in teeth
    About 49 million people worldwide drink water with fluoride added
    Fluoride can also be found in beer, tea and fish

    The British Dental Association want communities to be able to decide collectively that they want the water company to add fluoride, but this would need a change in the law.

    Hundreds of studies have shown that fluoride helps protect teeth according to Professor Kay; in America it is very common for communities to ask for fluoride in their water.

    She says that severe problems with children's teeth can result in them having to be surgically removed because of the pain caused.

    If this was compared with any other disease then there would be a public outcry for something to be done about it.

    Campaigners want a very small proportion of fluoride added to water - about one part per million and at that level won't have any ill effects.

    Professor Kay is concerned that those who are opposed to adding fluoride to water are using scare tactics to by saying it causes 'terrible diseases.'

    TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

    To have your say, e-mail us at breakfasttv@bbc.co.uk

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    See also:

    12 May 03 | UK News
    22 Sep 02 | Scotland

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