FLUORIDE in water supplies is likely to be increased, the Secretary of State for Health, Virginia Bottomley, indicated yesterday.
The time was right for 'urgent and rather forceful discussions' with water companies opposed to the idea. She is expected to outline the benefits of fluoridation in protecting teeth in a speech to the Water Companies Assocation next month.
Mrs Bottomley's comments are a sign that the Government will make dental measures a priority in improving the health of the nation.
However, there are likely to be protests from supporters of 'chemical-free' water supplies. New research is about to be published linking fluoride with bone cancer and damage to the immune system.
On 6 July the BBC 2 Nature series will claim there are secret plans for a five-fold increase in fluoridation levels by the end of the decade.
Details of the Government's plans emerged at the annual conference of the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts in Bournemouth.
Clifford Darley, chairman of Sefton family health services, called for new laws requiring water companies to add fluoride.
In reply, Mrs Bottomley told the conference she would be 'outraged' if she did not have fluoride in her own water. 'What I think we must must do is have urgent and rather forceful discussions with water companies and see if we cannot see a way forward.'