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DHSS listens to public opinion on fluoridation 12 June 2008

Following an extensive consultation process, the Department of Health and Social Security today recommended to the Council of Ministers not to proceed with fluoridating the Island’s water. The Council of Minister’s have accepted this recommendation.

The issue of fluoridating water has been proposed by various professional bodies and the Health Services Consultative Committee for many years. The Director of Public Health has a statutory duty to raise matters of concern brought to the attention of the Public Health Directorate, with the Department. In order to assess public opinion regarding the addition of fluoride to the Island’s water, the Department entered into a public debate. This consultation process has been very helpful to the Department, as it has established current public opinion and helped to highlight the poor level of dental health among our children.

Independent market researchers, GfK NOP, conducted a comprehensive survey on 12-15th May 2008. A random sample of 1000 Island residents were interviewed and all age groups 18 and over were represented. Results showed that a majority of respondents (54%) were opposed to fluoridation.

Hon W.E. Teare MHK, Minister for Health and Social Security said,

“The poll has highlighted some important issues for the Department to consider. Particularly in respect of the level of awareness amongst those polled of the rate of tooth decay and the general state of dental health in the Isle of Man compared to the UK.”

The Minister continued,

“In reporting the outcome of the telephone poll, the Department wants to assure the public that their views have been listened to. The poll results have shown that the majority of respondents are opposed to fluoridation of water in the Isle of Man. On that basis the Department accepts the results and will not continue with proposing fluoridation of the water, but will concentrate efforts in the coming years to further develop health promotion activity with regard to improving the dental health of everyone living in the Isle of Man.”

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