On 5th May 2005, four and a half years after it was promised, an anonymous and undated response to Dr Connett’s 50 Reasons to oppose fluoridation was posted on the Department of Health’s website under the heading Dental Research. While purporting to be a critical appraisal of the 50 Reasons it is actually an attempt to hide the lack of answers by engaging in criticism of the questions. Dr Connett (1) has accused the anonymous authors of “subverting the intentions of my challenge and attempting to obscure their inability to provide a cogent response.”

Having told the Joint Committee on Health in May 2004 that he was still awaiting a reply, Dr Connett has now deplored the Department of Health’s failure to answer him personally.

In an email addressed to the committee chairman, John Moloney, Dr Connett hopes the “committee will have the courage to recommend bringing an immediate end to the sorry practice of water fluoridation in Ireland.”

In Dr Connett’s four page letter, he contrasts the anonymous criticisms with numerous statements made by Fluoridation Forum members who collectively emphasised the importance of the 50 Reasons. In November 2000, Dr Joe Mullen acknowledged their importance, and this was repeated in May 2001 by Dr Wayne Anderson of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and fellow Forum member, who said “addressing Dr Connett‚s 50 Reasons is fundamentally important.” At the same meeting Prof O‚Mullane, Chairman of the Forum’s Sub-Group dealing with these answers, hoped “that the response will be completed by the end of July 2001.”

Dr Connett takes both the Fluoridation Forum and the Health Department’s anonymous authors to task for their ignorance of the scientific literature on fluoride toxicity. He cited in particular the risks of hip fractures in the elderly where water fluoridated at the current concentration leaves no margin of safety since the daily dose is uncontrollable and exposure via water is lifelong. Yet the Health Minister’s advisers still deny the scientific evidence of fluoride toxicity.

With other recent research confirming the link between fluoride in drinking water and a significant increase in bone cancer (osteosarcoma) among young men, Dr Connett asks

“How many teeth would you have to save to justify one child dying from osteosarcoma?”

VOICE spokesman Robert Pocock welcomed this anonymous posting because he said “After the constant evasions of the previous Health Minister, this is the clearest indication possible that the Department of Health can not defend fluoridation policy. The question now is, how long will it take Health Minister, Mary Harney, to realise that the discredited Forum along with its re-incarnation, ‘The Expert Body on Fluorides & Health’‚ were both devices to distract attention from the failings of fluoridation. She must now distance herself from a practice that is thoroughly discredited in the rest of Europe.”