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Milk treated with fluoride may soon be given to schoolchildren in local authorities where the water supply has not been treated with the chemical. Health officials are targeting nursery and infant schools in South Yorkshire including those in Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley under current plans.

A similar scheme in Scotland has shown that decay rates fell by 48% among five- and ten year olds drinking the treated milk.

Some parents have expressed concern as to the side effects of fluoride; though health officials are keen to stress any decision to introduce the milk into schools will depend on individual school governors and will then only be given to children whose parents have given written consent.

Fluoridisation of the water supply has been thought to be responsible for improvements in dental health in the UK since the 1960’s.