The Irish Medical Organisation is being urged to take a stand against the practice of adding fluoride to public drinking water.
Elizabeth Cullen of the Irish Doctor’s Environmental Association, will make her “commonsense” proposal on ending water fluoridation at the IMO’s annual conference in Maynooth, Co Kildare, on Friday.
Dr Cullen’s motion urges the IMO to call on the Department of Health to support a media campaign highlighting the causes of dental decay — poor diet and inadequate dental hygiene.
Her motion calls for an end to the practice of adding the chemical to the public drinking water.
Last month, Cork County Council unanimously passed a motion calling on the Government to stop treating the public water supply with fluoride.
Ireland is the only EU country, and one of only two in the world, with a national mandatory public water fluoridation policy.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney told councillors ahead of the meeting an international group of consultants is to be appointed by the Government to examine the use of fluoride in the public water supply.
“I know of no other drug whose dose is determined by how thirsty you are,” Dr Cullen said yesterday.
Dental health had improved not because of fluoride, she said, but because people consumed less sugar and brushed their teeth more regularly.
“You can get fluoride from foods — sardines and tea are high in fluoride,” she said. “Toothpaste and mouth washes also contain fluoride. My concern is that we don’t know the total dose people are getting.”
However, Dr Cullen is steering clear of talking about whether fluoride causes cancer because there were too many conflicting studies on the issue. “I am just making a commonsense argument against having fluoride added to public drinking water and I hope my colleagues will support it,” she said.
Tomorrow, the Girl Against Fluoride campaign group will protest outside the Irish Medicines Board in Dublin to highlight that the State’s drug-policing watchdog has never licensed the chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water.
Girl Against Fluoride campaign leader Aisling Fitzgibbon said she was delighted that a medical doctor was speaking out against putting fluoride in public drinking water.
“We need more medical professionals like Dr Cullen to speak out because it the weight of public opinion that will eventually shift this issue,” she said. “Sodium fluoride tablets are only available on prescription and at a certain dose, but it is in the water supply in an uncontrollable dose.”
Ms Fitzgibbon is taking a High Court action against the Government for putting a substance in the public water supply that had never been passed as safe by the Irish Medicines Board.
“I am not against using fluoride to combat tooth decay, I just don’t want it in the water supply,” she said.
“We do believe it does pose health risk to a certain amount of people in the population.”