Fluoridation and General Health

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Fluoridation and General Health
In terms of the number of studies that have been carried out worldwide, community water fluoridation is probably one of the most widely studied of all public health interventions. In the past two decades there have been at least 15 major international reviews of the existing evidence, as outlined below.





World Health Organisation

Community water fluoridation is safe and cost-effective and should be introduced and

maintained wherever it is socially acceptable and feasible.


Journal of Public Health Dentistry

Evidence is that fluoride is not related to cancer, hip fractures, allergy or immune diseases


Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Water fluoridation both at levels aimed at preventing dental caries and, possibly, at

higher naturally occurring levels appear to have little effect on fracture risk, either

protective or deleterious, at a population level.


Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

Concerns about adverse effects other

than dental fluorosis have not been substantiated. The Committee strongly supported

the continuation of the current water fluoridation policies in Ireland.


Ontario Ministry of Health, Canada

Studies to date do not provide systematic and compelling evidence of adverse health



NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination

The review could find no evidence that water fluoridation is linked to cancer, bone

disease, or any other adverse health effect.


Medical Research Council (UK)

The Working Group did not consider that the evidence supported claims that fluoridated

water affects the immune system, the reproductive system, child development, the

kidneys or the gastro-intestinal tract and consequently they did not recommend any

further research in these areas.


Forum on Fluoridation (Ireland)

The best available and most reliable scientific evidence indicates that at the maximum

permitted level of fluoride in drinking water (1ppm), human health is not adversely



National Research Council (USA)

Did not consider water fluoridated at 2ppm (2.5 times Irish legal limit) posed a risk to any health effects


World Health Organisation

No risks to general health from fluoridated water except regarding skeletal effects in countries where naturally present fluoride levels are high


National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia)

This systematic review found the evidence did not support a link to cancer or other negative health effects but found that fluoridation may reduce the risk of bone fracture


Health Canada Fluoride Expert Panel

No concerns regarding adverse health effects below the Canadian upper limit of 1.5ppm fluoride in water


Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (EU Commission)

Concerns of adverse health or environmental effects could not be substantiated. Fluoride is not classed as a carcinogen.


Royal Society of New Zealand

Water fluoridation at the levels used in New Zealand poses no significant health risks. It is a safe option that is cost saving and of significant public health benefit.


Public Health England

Water fluoridation is a safe and effective

public health measure, no evidence of difference in rate of hip fractures, kidney stones, Down’s Syndrome, osteosarcoma or all cancer types between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas.

None of these major reviews has concluded that community water fluoridation poses a known risk to general health or has suggested halting water fluoridation. These, and other reviews which dealt solely with oral health, show a significant benefit to dental health and through this to general health. However, some reviews have remarked that the knowledge in the area of general health is incomplete and recommended that further studies should be conducted.

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