Ireland’s water is a controversial subject these days, with protests against water charges being held on a regular basis. But now that we’re paying for our water usage, there’s another issue to consider – compulsory fluoridation of the public water supply.
A motion tabled by Independent Councillor Jim Cuddy at a recent Galway County Council meeting called on the Government to hold a referendum on water fluoridation, and was passed unanimously.
Galway City Councillor Catherine Connolly has also expressed concern about the levels of fluoride in the public water supply, saying that most councillors are concerned about it and that it is the councillors that need to do something about it.
“The official response has been that it’s for our health and there seems to be no getting beyond that, so really it’s up to the councillors, I think, to take the initiative. A change is not going to come from the officials; they’re carrying out government policy,” said Cllr Connolly.
Authorities say there are several health benefits to the addition of fluoride in the water, with dental health being listed as the main one. But many anti-fluoride groups say the opposite is true, with fluoride causing dental fluorosis, which leaves tooth enamel damaged.
“Water fluoridation was known, from the start, to cause dental fluorosis in at least 10% of children exposed to it. Dental fluorosis is irreversible tooth enamel damage for life. We believe that drinking the chemicals used in fluoridation is an unnecessary risk to health,” according to the anti-fluoride group, Fluoride Free Water.
There is now a growing movement which aims to repeal the Health Act of 1960 which allows for the compulsory fluoridation of Ireland’s water.
Anti-fluoride groups aim to propose a constitutional amendment which will guarantee every citizen will be protected from water fluoridation in the future.
“Harmful fluorides in tap water are a poison and they damage both teeth and soft tissues and bone. It is illegal to force anyone to take a poison without their knowledge or informed consent,” according to Fluoride Free Water.
Apart from dental fluorosis, there are many worldwide studies that show there are other health complications linked to over-exposure to fluoride in water, including an increased rate of hip fractures and an increased rate of thyroid disorders among others.
There are also many who believe fluoride is deliberately put in the water supply to keep the population docile, compliant and stupid, with numerous studies linking low IQ in children to the consumption of fluoride.
According to Fluoride Free Water: “Vulnerable groups like kidney patients, people with low thyroid function, and the elderly, and babies, who are fed formula made with fluoridated water, must not be exposed to toxic fluorides in their drinking water. Ending fluoridation will stop exposure to toxic fluorides from this source.”
Over the past year, a number of councils around the country, including Galway County Council, have publicly called on the Government to scrap the current policy of compulsory fluoridation.
“This is involuntary medication through an outdated and dangerous state-wide public health policy which continues to inflict irreversible cosmetic and structural malformation damage to the teeth – or fluorosis – of 40% of the population,” said a spokesperson from lobby group Fluoride Free Towns.
Ireland is one of the very few countries in Europe with compulsory fluoridation, and has the highest percentage (71%) of fluoride in its water system compared with Spain which has only 3% in comparison and the United Kingdom, which has only 10% fluoride in its water. The data comes from Dr Paul Connett, CEO of the Fluoride Action Network.
The spokesperson for Fluoride Free Towns said that fluoride “threatens the country’s very valuable food and beverage sector of the economy. Not one other European country maintains a similar mandatory public water fluoridation policy in 2015 due to health, environmental, legal or ethical concerns as a result of ongoing scientific and medical objection.”
Cllr Catherine Connolly says that the officials are only “carrying out government policy”, but councillors and lobby groups have concerns.
“I think they have serious concerns and I think they have to be properly investigated and I think that they have persisted in the face of a wall of denial from the government. Concerned groups of citizens have kept going and saying we are worried. I think it deserves a proper inquiry and a proper investigation,” she said.