A CAMPAIGNING journalist with ‘Hot Press’ has highlighted Ireland’s controversial fluoridation policy with a two-page spread in the popular national magazine.
A motion tabled by the Skibbereen-based Fine Gael councillor, Brendan McCarthy, came to the attention of the journalist following the April meeting of the town council.
In the May 8th edition of ‘Hot Press’ Adrienne Murphy began her report – which features photographs of the Mayor of Skibbereen, Karen Coakley, and Brendan McCarthy – by pointing out that no fewer than 27 questions about this issue were put to the Junior Minister for Health, Alex White, five weeks before and she had yet to receive a response.
She stated that answers were promised to ‘Hot Press’ by the minister and his aides when she met him outside the offices of the Department of Health on March 20th last. However, she said subsequent requests were met with ‘a wall of silence.’
The journalist said a number of emails were ignored despite the publication’s insistence that readers of ‘Hot Press’ and anti-fluoride campaigners are anxiously awaiting a coherent response.
She was nevertheless heartened to find that all nine members of another public body – namely Skibbereen Town Council – voted at their monthly meeting on Thursday, April 4th, for an immediate cessation to water fluoridation.
Although the council doesn’t have the power to prohibit the practice, they did take a stand on the issue and forwarded Mr McCarthy’s motion to every local authority in the country seeking their support.
The motion: ‘that Skibbereen Town Council calls for the immediate cessation of the practice of fluoridation of the public water supply given that only 2% of Europe continues this practice – a number that is made up of the Republic of Ireland and a few cities in the UK.’
Mr McCarthy’s motion, which was also sent to the Minister for Health Dr James Reilly, the Minister for Environment and Local Government Phil Hogan, and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, also stated that the so-called ‘benefits carry no weight when considered against the wide variety of major health concerns validated by countless volumes of research, studies and data to the contrary.’
He said: ‘The risks involved to public health by this mass medication of the population are proven, and are too great to continue to ignore.’
Calling for immediate action, Mr McCarthy – who might otherwise have featured in the pages of ‘Hot Press’ as a member of the popular West Cork group ‘Open The Taps’ – said: ‘We are hoping that the town council will come together as a collective and put an end to this mandatory fifty-year practice of dosing the public water supply with a know neurotoxin, which ostensibly prevents dental decay.’
Mr McCarthy, who is also the principal at Union Hall National School, said he was not satisfied with the response that was issued to the local authority by The Irish Export Body on Fluorides and Health.
The Expert Body referred to the EU Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), an organisation that published a critical review of any new evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and the fluoridating agents of drinking water in May 2011.
The main conclusions of the SCHER report are that there are no known health implications from fluoridating water at levels used in the EU.
Fundamentally the organisation maintains that there continues to be overwhelming evidence that water fluoridation significantly benefits dental health and through this, benefits overall health.
The reply also stated that it is satisfied that there is scientific evidence worldwide that water fluoridation causes no ill effects to the health of adults or children.
Mr McCarthy said the response, which came in the form of a two-page pdf, was an executive summary in response to a report written by a local environmental scientist, Declan Waugh.
Declan Waugh’s report, which is entitled ‘Human Toxicity, Environmental Impact and Legal Implications of Water Fluoridation’ is, according to Mr McCarthy ‘an important work that should not be ignored.
‘It raises many questions about the risks involved and it would be my opinion that any risk is too great a risk,’ said Mr McCarthy.