A GROUP opposing water fluoridation are to field two candidates in the General Election – one of whom will run in Health Minister Michéal Martin’s constituency.

Fluoride Free Water revealed their plans as it emerged that the Forum on Fluoridation, whose report is due to land on the Minister’s desk shortly, will recommend that the practice of fluoridating tap-water continue.

The Forum was established by the Minister in May 2000 to examine the contentious practice of fluoridation amid claims that the chemicals used can cause cancer, gastro-intestinal disorders, fluorosis and hip fractures.

A source close to the forum yesterday confirmed that their report will recommend that fluoridation continue, but will also call for further research to be carried out.

The group is due to meet on February 14 to sign off on the report, which will then be sent to Health Minister Micheal Martin.

Advocates of fluoridation argue that people living in fluoridated areas have fewer dental problems than those in non-fluoridated areas.

However, opponents say that hydrofluosilic acid contains traces of chromium, mercury, arsenic and can cause major health problems. 98% of European countries no longer fluoridate their water.

All told, 11 Irish local authorities have asked to be allowed to halt the practice.

Fluoride Free Water (FFW) spokesman, Dr Don Mac Auley, said they would field two anti-fluoridation candidates in Cork South Central and Dublin South.

“Over the next two months we are going to raise the issue of fluoridation and make the public aware of the dangers.

“We are setting out to raise the issue in the Minister’s own constituency and then challenge him electorally,” he said.

While FFW will not announce the names of the candidates until early next month, they plan to hold a meeting and distribute 25,000 leaflets outlining their opposition to fluoride next month.

A spokesman for Minister Martin last night said: “As far as we are concerned the report has not been finalised and therefore we are not in a position to comment on it.”

Dr Mac Auley said the were opposed to fluoridation on three grounds: medication is being administered without consent; the public had not been fully informed of the risks and side effects and fluoridation caused dental fluorosis.

“In spite of all the evidence about the dangers of fluoride, Ireland has never carried out a survey into the health effects of fluoridation. That is illegal,” he said.

Kildare-based GP, Dr Andrew Rynne, is taking a case against the Government and the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) on the grounds that, although fluoride is a medicine, it is not licensed by the IMB.

The agent used, hydrofluosilic acid, is a waste component of the fertiliser industry and contains traces of chromium, mercury, arsenic and lead, according to Dr Mac Auley.