Nearly half the drinking water in England could have fluoride added to it under a ‘secret’ Government plan, according to The Daily Mail.
Dental health chiefs want to add the chemical to 40 per cent of England’s water supply to combat high levels of tooth decay.
But critics said the ‘mass medication’ of water without the population’s consent was an invasion of their human rights.
They also accused dentists of being in denial about the dangers of fluoride, which has been linked to diseases, including brittle bones and cancer.
Dental experts, however, said there is overwhelming evidence that adding fluoride to water helps reduce tooth decay, with children the biggest beneficiaries.
Fluoride, which is tasteless and odourless, occurs naturally but is also found in drinking water supplies – usually at levels too low to affect dental health.
At present, only 10 per cent of tap water has fluoride added – in the West Midlands and the North East.
Although plans to add the chemical to more of the nation’s water supply were first announced by Health Secretary Alan Johnson in February, the scale of the Government’s intentions has remained under wraps until now.
The Government has earmarked £42million to pay for the scheme.
The Department of Health said water companies would only start fluoridating water following consultation with local people.