Nov. 12, 2003 -- The governments of England and Wales have decided to leave the water fluoridation issue up to local authorities.
A total ban on fluoridation in drinking water failed recently by a vote of 284 to 181, making dental and health groups rejoice but prompting opponents to call it "mass medication", according to a Nov. 10 BBC News report.
Although water utilities have been permitted to add fluoride to their supplies since 1985, few have done so for fear of being sued. Under this latest decision, health agencies now will be able to require that water utilities fluoridate after consulting local people.
Right now, 11% of water customers in the two countries have fluoridated water.
Opponents claim fluoride could cause tooth staining or even cancer, and have threatened to organize a legal challenge on human rights grounds. They also argued that the evidence presented before the vote in favor of fluoridation was unreliable and contradictory.