Its competence already queried at inception in June 2009 by International Society of Doctors for Environment (ISDE) (1), the EU’s Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) which is investigating fluoridation chemicals, has now been accused of a conflict of interest. SCHER’s credibility is thus further compromised by one of its members having actively co-promoted fluoridation in Switzerland.
Prof Ackermann-Liebrich was involved with others in needlessly prolonging fluoridation in Basel-city for several years until in 2003, the Swiss Canton stopped fluoridation because even after 40 years, no study could prove the caries-preventive effect of fluoridation. Basel-city also cited the risk of fluorosis of bone in particular the risks to young children and babies. The only EU countries still allowing this practice are Ireland and a few English water PLCs (Scotland, Wales, N.Ireland and the Isle of Man reject it outright).
The conflict of interest charge is contained in an Open Letter (2) to new Maltese Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection (SANCO) Mr John Dalli. The letter reproduces WHO data for Malta showing no relationship between dental caries and fluoride content in drinking water. Other WHO international data for 12 yr olds was also provided to Mr Dalli that similarly found no statistical support for fluoridated water’s claimed caries prevention.
The letter is from Austrian physicist Rudolf Ziegelbecker son of the late Rudolf Ziegelbecker, scientist from Graz, whose compelling statistical evidence after many years research, demonstrates the fallacy of water fluoridation. The late Rudolf Ziegelbecker’s evidence was a decisive contribution in persuading German-speaking nations in Europe to reject fluoridation and they were later followed in the 1990s by the neighbouring Czech and Slovak republics, by former East Germany, Hungary and Poland totalling some 100 million in today’s EU.
While alerting the new Comissioner to the fallacy of water fluoridation, Mr Ziegelbecker also criticised the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for its persistent failure a) to recognise fluoride’s inefficacy as a caries preventitive and b) its setting of tolerable upper limits that do not protect against harmful effects. He quotes correspondence about this important matter from his late father to EFSA members, yet not a single opinion issued by several recent EFSA panels references any of Ziegelbecker’s research or any other scientific papers which refuted the scientific basis of caries-fluoride prophylaxis. The Open Letter explicitly questions why the Commission has instructed SCHER to collaborate closely with an agency whose work on fluoride has been challenged because it is so manifestly ill-informed and unbalanced.
Mr Ziegelbecker appeals to Commissioner Dalli to use his best efforts to stop fluoridation throughout the EU because of the immediate risk it poses to children, citing the large rise in dental fluorosis in Irish children.
Finally, in expressing disapproval of the suppression of independent fluoride research in the medical literature – Medline still does not include the highly respected open access journal of the International Society for Fluoride Research (ISFR) Fluoride – the Austrian notes how difficult it is for EU consumers to obtain independent scientific information on the subject of fluoride.
Comment from Robert Pocock of VOICE of Irish Concern for the Environment:
“Mr Ziegelbecker’s revelations about how most of central Europe for very sound reasons stopped fluoridation, should be a wake-up call to DG SANCO. Mr Dalli must now recognise that his predecessor’s decision to involve SCHER and EFSA in assessing water fluoridation was thoroughly misguided. Unless SCHER now also finds that fluoridation of drinking water is fundamentally flawed, its report will command no credibility across Europe. Indeed if this committee — qualified to assess risks from environmental pollutants only — is to emerge with any credit from the mess visited on it by the EU Commission, SCHER must now state unequivocally that fluoridation can only be assessed as a medicine ie pharmacologically.
Unless the EU Commission faces up to its regulatory duty to enforce the Medicines Directive*, which prohibits any medicinal claim to be made for a substance without a medicinal authorisation, it will not regain EU consumer trust, least of all in Ireland and England where unauthorised and therefore illegal fluoridation chemicals are added to drinking water.
Consumers in both fluoridated Ireland and England are further disadvantaged because their respective governments officially deny the severity of dental fluorosis caused by fluoridation, with the Irish government calling it ‘a cosmetic condition’ and the UK government suppressing fluorosis evidence completely.”
* Directive 2001/83/EC as amended by Directive 2004/27/EC and effective 30th October 2004, classifies all products which are presented to ‘treat or prevent’ disease or which have a ‘pharmacological , immunological or metabolic action’ as medicinal products. The only exemptions are products which are ‘clearly’ foods, food supplements etc. The amending directive makes clear that ‘in cases of doubt’ (ie ‘borderline products’) medicinal law shall have supremacy over any other EU law. Under these terms hydrofluorosilicic acid whose stated purpose is to prevent dental caries, must be regarded as medicinal. However drinking water medicated with fluorosilicic acid is not classified as medicinal by the UK or Irish government medicines regulator or by the European Medicines Agency.
The EU Commission has presided over this ten year regulatory failure despite appeals from Irish and UK MEPs and the European Parliament’s Petition Committee which lodged a petition against fluoridation (No 210 of 2007.(3)
(2) Open Letter (Link to be soon available)