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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/119

And can the Commission outline any single scientific or clinical, objective, long-term study to show that
fluosilic acid in drinking water at any concentration has any beneficial effect on human health?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(28 November 2002)

The issue of fluoridation of drinking water is addressed under Council Directive 80/778/EEC of
15 July 1980 relating to the quality of water intended for human consumption (1), which will be replaced
by 25 December 2003 by the new Drinking Water Directive, Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November
1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (2). The approach followed by the
Commission in the development of this legislation has been to set limit values, which should not be
exceeded, for a series of substances and fluoride in particular; the maximum permitted levels have been
fixed on the basis of the available scientific knowledge in order to protect human health. The choice of the
means to bring the quality of the drinking water in line with Community legislation has always been left to
the Member States themselves. Fluoridation, like other water treatment processes, is an issue that should be
addressed by the national authorities, as the Commission believes that is the most appropriate place to deal
with it. This line has been endorsed by all Member States and the Commission is not aware that, up to
now, this approach has been called into question by Member States themselves.

Fluorosilic acid is manufactured to exacting quality standards, must meet strict purity standards and is
always added at rigorous and controlled doses in drinking water.

The values fixed in the Directive are based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
According to them, the value of 1,5 miligrams (mg) per litre for fluoride represents an appropriate balance
between the positive and negative effects of fluoride. Drinking water is not the only source of fluoride to
which people (and children in particular) are exposed; this has also been taken into consideration when
fixing the guideline. This guideline is supported by a series of studies or papers that are referred to in the

In the present context of Community legislation on drinking water, where Community-wide quality
objectives must be reached by all Member States but where the choice of means to achieve them is left to
the latter, the Commission is neither for or against the practice of drinking water fluoridation.

The Commission is, nevertheless, very conscious of the health risks associated with the excessive ingestion
of fluoridated compounds which may also result from the use of fluoridated toothpaste, fluoride rinses,
fluoride treatments in dental offices, food and beverages. The Commission is very aware of this issue and
will continue to follow it very closely.

(1) OJ L 229, 30.8.1980.

(2) OJ L 330, 5.12.1998.

(2003/C 137 E/136) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2783/02

by Chris Davies (ELDR) to the Commission

(3 October 2002)

Subject: EU Water Initiative for WSSD

The Commission set out the details of the EU Water Initiative at the World Summit on Sustainable

What practical steps does it intend to take before the end of 2003 to ensure that its objectives are turned
into reality?
C 137 E/120 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(10 February 2003)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to the reply it gave to Oral Question H-0696/02 by
Mr Collins during question time at Parliament’s October II 02 part-session (1).

The Commission is sending the information requested direct to the Honourable Member and to
Parliament’s Secretariat.

(1) Written answer of 22.10.2002.

(2003/C 137 E/137) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2794/02

by Giacomo Santini (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(4 October 2002)

Subject: Closing of the final section of the Brenner motorway by the Tyrol state government to heavy
vehicles at night

The Governor of the Tyrol has signed an order prohibiting heavy vehicles from travelling at night along
the Wergl Est  Hall section of the A 13 in the Tyrol from 1 October to 31 March. This decision clearly
infringes Community rules, disregards the fundamental principles of free movement of goods and places an
additional dangerous restriction on traffic, which, if it nevertheless travels at night, incurs significantly
higher transit charges.

The step taken by the Tyrol government also flies in the face of basic interinstitutional values, as in the
course of the European Parliament’s hearing of the three Transport Ministers on 10 September 2002,
on the question of ecopoints, no prior warning was given of this decision, which was formally issued the
following day.

Moreover, although it is true that there is no general rule on the subject at European level, it is also true
that in the proposal for a directive on traffic restrictions on Sundays and holidays, Member States are free
to impose specific traffic restrictions at night, but only on noisy vehicles.

In view of the foregoing,

1. What steps does the Commission intend to take to remedy this serious situation, which infringes the
principle of the free movement of goods inside the European Union?

2. What measures has the Commission considered to ensure that such actions are not taken again in

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(8 November 2002)

The Commission is aware of the problem the Honourable Member is referring to regarding the night-time
ban on heavy goods traffic on Austria’s Inntal motorway between Kundl and Ampass.

In the absence of a transparent system of harmonised traffic restriction rules applicable to heavy goods
vehicles engaged in international transport, measures such as that adopted by the President of Tyrol need
to be examined with reference to the general principles of Community law (e.g. non-discrimination,
proportionality), as well as other specific provisions which may be applicable.

The Commission has asked the Austrian authorities to clarify and explain the measure they have adopted.
It will examine the case further in the light of their reply.