The fluoridation of drinking water will cease if the Green Party is elected to government, party health spokesman John Gormley has pledged.
Mr Gormley said he believed that the Fine Gael spokesman on health, Dr Liam Twomey, would also like to see an end to fluoridation.
“I am hopeful I can get support for its removal from other parties,” he said.
Mr Gormley said the latest advice from the American Dental Association told parents to avoid using fluoridated water when bottle-feeding babies because of the dangers of fluorosis – the staining and pitting of teeth which can result from overexposure to fluoride.
“This advice should be heeded,” Mr Gormley said. “The balance of international evidence proves that water fluoridation should be stopped immediately.”
Fluoridation of water was introduced in Ireland in the early 1960s to reduce dental caries in the population.
Mr Gormley said there had been a huge increase in fluorosis in Ireland in the last decade.
He said that 98 per cent of countries in Europe did not add fluoride to their tap water.
“Even up North it is not done. One thing Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley could agree on was that they don’t want fluoridation.”
Mr Gormley also raised concerns about the link between excess fluoride and bone cancer in boys, saying that one study showed boys who lived in areas with fluoridated water had a five times greater risk of contracting the disease.
“Fluoride is a toxic substance, we shouldn’t be taking it into our bodies,” he said.
However, the Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health has said there is overwhelming scientific evidence to support the safety and efficacy of water fluoridation in Ireland and there is no scientific evidence worldwide to suggest that it causes any ill medical effects.
It emphasised that there is no health risk to any member of society including babies from consumption of fluoride in breast milk, infant formula, water or foods at the levels of fluoride observed in Ireland.
However, it has recommended a reduction in levels.