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Parliamentary questions
24 June 2011
E-004919/2011
Answer given by Mr Potočnik on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is constantly scrutinising proper implementation of the Drinking Water Directive(1); in its role as Guardian of the Treaties, and commencing legal infringement procedures where appropriate(2).

It regularly reviews the quality standards included in the directive in the light of scientific and technical progress. Where necessary, and in accordance with Article 11(1), it proposes amendments to the European Parliament and the Council.

For fluoride, the Drinking Water Directive sets a quality standard of 1.5 mg/litre. A fluoride content of 1.73 mg per litre in drinking water, as mentioned by the Honourable Member, is thus not compliant with the directive, unless the responsible authorities have allowed for a temporary derogation under the strict conditions set out in the directive (Article 9). Consequently, such monitoring results have to entail remedial action. At the same time, the directive does not prescribe details such as the organisational set-up of water supply, the source of water used for supply or its treatment including artificial fluoridation. Artificial fluoridation is consequently not per se an infringement of the directive. However, in all cases the drinking water supplied to the consumer has to meet established quality standards.

The Commission will request information from the Spanish authorities on remedial measures and on the latest monitoring data on drinking water quality for the water supply in question, and will inform the Honourable Member.

At this point in time, the Commission does not see reasons to propose a change of the quality standard for fluoride: the latest edition of the guidelines for drinking-water quality published by the World Health Organisation (2008)(3) concludes on fluoride: ‘There is no evidence to suggest that the guideline value of 1.5 mg/litre set in 1984 and reaffirmed in 1993 needs to be revised.’

However, given that fluoride exposure of consumers comes from a range of sources, the Commission has requested the Scientific Committee on Health and the Environment to deliver an opinion for an updated assessment of potential risks associated with exposure of the public to the intake of fluoride.

In 2010 the Scientific Committee published its preliminary opinion(4) for public consultation, and is currently assessing the comments and opinions submitted. A final opinion has not been published yet.

(1)Directive 98/83/EC, OJ L 330, 5.12.1998.
(2)Articles 258 and 260 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
(3)http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/fulltext.pdf
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/fluoride.pdf
(4)http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/environmental_risks/docs/scher_o_122.pdf

OJ C 365 E, 15/12/2011
Última actualização: 11 de Julho de 2011Advertência jurídica