I went before The Forum on Fluoridation a few weeks back. It was held in the boardroom of the very impressive new dental hospital in TCD.
This rather formal setting was a bit intimidating although, to be fair, the Chairman and each of the 12 members present on the day were nothing if not relaxed and courteous.
Yet I could not escape the feeling that I was “up against it,” if you know what I mean. Undoubtedly, many members of this Forum have indeed got open minds on the question of the continued fluoridation of Ireland’s water supply.
Equally though, what I would call the power base of the group is manifestly pro-fluoridation and have made no secret of that fact.
Couple this with the opening remarks of the Minister, where he expressed himself as strongly in favour of fluoridation, and the whole Forum begins to take on some distinct elements of a miserable farce.
For example, two letter-writers to this journal – Dr Joe Mullen of the Society of Chief and Principal Dental Surgeons of Ireland and Prof Denis O’Mullane of the Oral Health Services Research Centre, are both members of the Forum. In the letters column of this paper, they made no bones about their devotion to the fluoridation cause. Here Dr Joe Mullen stated: “the simple truth of the matter is that every single major review of the evidence, both medical and dental, has concluded two unarguable facts: (a) fluoridation benefits dental health and (b) adverse medical effects are unproven”. And the author of this mouthful sits on the Forum and indicates he is “open-minded” on the subject.
Again in this paper dated March 12 last, Prof Denis O’Mullane, another member of the Forum on Fluoridation, went to great pains to down-play the significance of dental fluorosis, which he said occurred at a rate of 50 per cent in fluoridated regions, that is of course all over Ireland.
This he described as a “very mild, very questionable change in the appearance of the enamel”. And whatever else you might like to make of that statement, impartial is hardly a word that readily springs to mind. Yet the author sits on the Forum and indicates he is “open-minded”.
Suppose this Forum was set up to study the impact of sex education in our schools. At the opening press conference Cardinal Connell makes clear his opposition to sex education and says so to the attending media. Then we learn that the Forum in made up largely of members of the Knights of Columbanus, the pro-life movement and Opus Dei.
And let me hasten to add what fine fellows they all of them are, but would you expect a fair and impartial report from then on the impact of sex education. I mean to say let’s be reasonable now, of course you wouldn’t.
Yes, well that is exactly what the Forum on Fluoridation is like. It was opened by the Minister of Health who announced to the attending media that fluoridation was the best thing since sliced bread. Then, just to make sure that we all keep eating it, the Forum is stuffed with pro-fluoridation heavy hitters – Professors, Chiefs, Deans and the like.
In my pathetic David versus Goliath address to this lot I said in my opening remarks that I had serious reservations as to the impartiality claimed by many of the members of the Forum.
This of course predictably went down like the proverbial feed of crubeens in a synagogue, and the rest of the meeting was taken up by members protesting their innocence in that regard.
One staunch pro-fluoridation member declared to the assembled faithful that he would readily change his mind-set if it were ever proven that fluoridation was in fact harmful. This I thought akin to saying that he would stop believing in God if someone could prove to his satisfaction that God did not in fact exist.
Again to be fair about things, the Forum does in fact have a very good website which is constantly updated. You can follow the proceedings at . Here you may note two recurring themes.
One is the constant complaint that people and groups known to be opposed to fluoridation are not prepared to go in front of the Forum and present their views to them, and thus seem to lack the courage of their convictions.
The reason why so few of us opposed to this mass medication are not willing to go before the Forum, however, has nothing to do with strength of convictions and all to do with the belief that the composition of the Forum lacks balance.
People, understandably reluctant to make a presentation to a group of implacable believers, are voting with their feet and staying away. And that is how it will remain for the duration of the Forum and they can moan all they like about it.
Another impression you will undoubtedly gain from perusing this website is that this wretched Forum has no intention of recommending the discontinuation of fluoridation in Ireland.
They may recommend stricter controls and monitoring and ongoing studies, but depressingly, I do not see any evidence that they are going to recommend to the Minister that the practice should be discontinued, or even suspended, and so you and I will continue to be force-dosed with an unknown quantity every time we make a cup of tea or water our whisky.
There is, however, a chink of light coming; not from this hopelessly biased Forum – you can forget about them. Individual members of county councils are becoming increasingly alarmed at the levels of fluoride that are being discovered among their own members. They have every reason to be alarmed. The Chairman of Kildare County Council, for example, has just discovered that his level of fluoride is an alarming 5.4mgs, that is almost double the so-called “safe” level.
County councils are now asking the Government that they be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to continue the practice of fluoridation. The problem in that is that they have a statutory duty to fluoridate under the 1956 Fluoridation Act. And this needs amending quickly.
I am going to vote for Fine Gael the next time around. They have promised to discontinue this vile practice of pumping 2,000 gallons of toxic waste daily into this country’s fresh water supplies.
This State-approved dumping is in contravention of 1997 Council of European Convention of Human Rights and simply must be stopped immediately. But do not rely on the Forum to do it, because they won’t.