PARENTS who prepare their babies’ bottles with tap water are not putting their health at risk, according to a controversial report which Health Minister Michel Martin is due to receive today. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) report, which took more than a year to complete, contradicts the findings of the British Medical Association and has been described as a cover-up by anti-fluoridation campaigners.
Information received by Dr Don MacAuley of Fluoride Free Water under the Freedom of Information Act shows that in October 2001, the FSAI agreed infant formula should not be made with tap water.
A copy of the minutes of an FSAI meeting released under an FOI note say: “The scientific committee agrees that the precautionary principle should apply and recommends that infant formula should not be reconstituted with fluoridated tap water.”
However, anti-fluoridation campaigners have questioned why the minutes of the same meeting which were posted on the FSAI website fail to mention the scientific committee’s deliberation on fluoridation.
The copy on the FSAI website states that the FSAI believes infants under the age of four months are exposed to doses of fluoride above the recommended level, but simply concludes this should be discussed at a later meeting. The minutes do not mention the recommendation that babiesí bottles should not be made with tap water.
Dr MacAuley last night said: “It is a scandal, an absolute scandal. What happened is somebody said ‘you can’t say this (infant formula) should not be used or fluoridation will end.’ It is now time for the Irish public to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’. A Food Safety Authority recommendation, which has been buried, is not going to stop fluoridation. There is an election coming and only public pressure can stop fluoridation.”
Newborns who are fed formula prepared with tap water are receiving three times the limit recommended by the British Medical Association, while a three-month old child receives up to six times the limit, Senator Avril Doyle recently warned
Dr MacAuley said between 40% and 50% of teenagers he treats are suffering from dental fluorosis – tooth damage which has been linked to fluoridated drinking water. Of those, 90% were fed formula prepared with tap water.
FSAI deputy chief executive Alan Reilly dismissed Dr MacAuley’s accusation of a cover-up and said he had mistakenly been sent a draft copy of the October meeting minutes, which were subsequently amended and published on the website.
However, FSAI records show the minutes of the October meeting were adopted without amendment.
Mr Reilly said their final report was due to go to the minister today with the recommendation parents continue to use tap water.
However, Senator Avril Doyle accused Minister Tom Moffatt of misleading the Seanad when he stated in February the FSAI was still considering the impact of fluoridation on infants’ health.
“Not only should Minister Moffatt consider his position after having misled the Seanad but he must immediately instruct via the health boards the state agencies involved to communicate this advice to all parents, mothers-to-be and the maternity hospitals throughout the State,” she said.
* Hydrofluorosilic acid contains traces of chromium, mercury, arsenic and lead
* Three-month old babies whose bottle is prepared with tap-water receive up to six times the recommended limit
* Ireland is now the only country in Europe to have mandatory fluoridation of drinking water
* Fluoridated drinking water has been linked to a type of tooth damage known as dental fluorosis. Between 40% and 50% of Irish teenagers are sufferers