Parliament heard this week that the BDA was one of a number of organisations who had expressed concerns about a three month trial to use dental x-rays to assess the age of young people who apply for asylum in the UK. The trial, which is being initiated by the UK Border Agency, would allow young people who have been classified as adults for immigration purposes to challenge this ruling by voluntarily undertaking a dental X-ray to prove that they are under 18 and should be re-classified as a minor.
Responding to a question from Lisa Nandy, Labour MP for Wigan, Immigration Minister Damien Green said that the British Dental Association, the Chief Medical Officer and the Children’s Commissioner for England had made representations to the UK Border Agency about the trial. In the letter Judith Husband, Vice-Chair of the BDA Executive Board, expressed dismay that the trials were taking place given that a similar proposal was abandoned in 2008 following criticism from the medical and dental professions. Describing the trials as ‘unproven and potentially harmful’ she asked the Agency to reconsider the use of radiographs to determine age, and asked for the BDA to be involved in future meetings on the issue.