COT statement on fluorine in the 1997 Total Diet Study

In 2000 the COT considered the results of a study conducted by the Food Standards Agency in which samples collected in the 1997 Total Diet Study (TDS) were analysed for the presence of fluorine, bromine and iodine.

The Committee concluded that the total dietary intakes of bromine and iodine estimated from the survey were unlikely to pose a risk to health. However, consideration of fluorine was deferred as the toxicity of this trace element was due to be considered by the ad hoc Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals (EVM).

The final report of the EVM was published in May 2003. The EVM concluded that fluoride was not within its remit as food fortification with fluoride is carried out as a public health measure. Determination of maximum levels of supplementation therefore has to take place within the context of local exposure and involves a consideration of risks and benefits, which was not in the terms of reference of the EVM.