The UK government bases its decision to continue to fluoridate water on misinterpretation of a scientific review from the University of York.
It is a systematic review of many scientific studies done on this topic.
The York Report was possibly the most comprehensive study of all time on the effects of water fluoridation, it looked directly at issues such as safety and efficacy.
The report found that water fluoridation clearly increases the risk of dental fluorosis (a medical condition where the teeth are damaged), and found that the research done up until now had not been of a good standard, and could not show water fluoridation to be safe (McDonagh et al. 2000). Somehow the government still cites this report as a reason for councils fluoridate their drinking water (Public Health England 2014).
The chair of the report Professor Trevor Sheldon was so concerned about the way the reports findings had been misquoted by various organisations that he issued the following statement
Trevor Sheldon (2000) York Report:
A more recent review of the health effects of fluoride called for it to be urgently removed from public water globally (Peckham and Awofeso 2014). Cancer, dental fluorosis and many other conditions have been strongly linked to water fluoridation. This review also called for tighter regulations on preventing unethical disposal of fluoride into the environment.
Systematic review of water fluoridation
Peckham, S. and Awofeso, N. (2014) Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review of the Physiological Effects of Ingested Fluoride as a Public Health Intervention Scientific World Journal
Vol. 2014, No. 293019 [Online] Available at: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/293019/ (Accessed on 29th May 2016)
Public Health England (PHE) (2014) Water fluoridation: health monitoring report for England 2014. [Online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/water-fluoridation-health-monitoring-report-for-england-2014 (Accessed on 29th May 2016)
Sheldon, T. (2000) York Report – Systematic review of water fluoridation [Online] Available at: http://www.nofluoride.com/york_report_chairman.htm (Accessed on 29th May 2016)