Councillors from Cumbria County Council will delay making a decision on water fluoridation until the findings of a study have been revealed.
Members of the council’s cabinet claim that they need more information about the impact of fluoridation on a local scale before they make a decision on the future of fluoridation in the area.
In September, a petition, which urged councillors to debate the possibility of removing fluoride from community water supplies was presented to Allerdale Local Committee, and the council referred to the matter to the cabinet.
Before the cabinet made a decision, members were encouraged by the director of public health to wait for the findings of a study known as Catfish to be released. The Catfish study (Cumbrian Assessment of Teeth, a Fluoride Intervention Study for Health) aims to provide information about the impact of a recent break in fluoridation on children’s dental health.
Campaigners believe that water should be removed from public water supplies. However, dentists and public health figures support its use as an effective means of reducing the prevalence of dental decay. Councillor for public health, Ian Stewart, suggested that there is no scientific evidence to support claims that water fluoridation is harmful to human health, and the best course of action is to wait to vote on the matter until the findings of the Catfish study are available. Mt Stewart’s comments were backed by public health director, Colin Cox, who responded to questions about the safety of fluoridated water by suggesting that there is no “robust evidence” to bring the issue of safety into question.