Here at Yorkshire Water we’re governed by local authorities and Public Health England on the issue of water fluoridation.
This means that it’s up to each local authority to decide on proposals for new water fluoridation schemes, and any decisions that are made are based on public support on the issue.
What are water fluoridation and fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water in varying amounts across the world.
Adding fluoride to water, known as water fluoridation, has been to have a positive effect on dental health as it can help to prevent tooth decay in moderate amounts.
Fluoride can be found in many of the foods we eat, including lettuce, avocados, and strawberries to name a few.
It’s also added to many brands of toothpaste, and in some areas to the water supply under strict regulation.
Local authorities must then conduct their own public consultations on proposals of new fluoridation schemes.
If local authorities can prove that the public supports adding fluoride to the water supply, they can ask Public Health England to ask their local water company to fluoridate.
The history of fluoride in the water supply
The first water fluoridation schemes started in the US in 1945. The first similar scheme in the UK didn’t occur until nearly 20 years later in 1965.
Currently, nearly 6 million people in England receive artificially fluoridated water. This brings the fluoride content up to around 1mg of fluoride per litre of water, which is the level found to reduce tooth decay levels.
Does fluoride help with tooth decay?
During the early 20th century, researches found that people who consumed water with naturally occurring fluoride had better dental health than people in areas without fluoride in their water supply.
Since then, some water companies, backed by organisations like the World Health Organisation, have added fluoride to the water supply because of its positive effect on tooth decay.
Is fluoride safe in drinking water?
Fluoride, along with many other minerals including calcium, is found naturally at low levels in many areas across the UK.
The quality of drinking water in Britain is controlled by some of the tightest regulations in the world, with standards set by the European Commission for over 50 different substances.
The UK government has also implemented its own (more stringent) standards to further protect public health.
Some standards are concerned with aspects not related to health, such as the taste and appearance of your water supply.
At Yorkshire Water, we’re committed to providing continuous clean water and sanitation for Yorkshire’s homes both now, and for the future. It’s part of our Blueprint for Yorkshire over the next 25 years.
How much fluoride is used in drinking water?
As it stands, none of Yorkshire Water’s supply is artificially fluoridated.
Any fluoride that is present in the water is naturally occurring at well below the health and safety standards set by the EU and the UK government.
For additional information about what’s in your water, please feel free to get in touch!