The following letter, published in the July 19 edition of the Irish Times, provides further support to the effort to ban water fluoridation in Ireland. The letter is from John Colgan, the Chairman of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland. According to Colgan:
“[I]t is urgent that Government policy should now change to allow every consumer choice in the matter of fluoridation of drinking water supplies through the cessation of mass fluoridation.
If fluoride is required as a medication it can be provided directly in the usual way to those who need it….
I submit that the issue of mass fluoridation is pre-eminently a matter for civil rights: the right of every consumer, including industrial consumer(s), to drinking and food processing water which contains no added medicines.”
These are quite powerful words coming from the Chairman of one of Ireland’s pre-eminent consumer watchdog groups. According to Dr. Don Mac Auley, a member of Fluoride Free Water, the Consumers’ Association of Ireland will be voting this September on a motion to take a public stance against fluoridation. Mac Auley has asked that people take a moment, read Colgan’s letter, and forward their support for his views to CAI. CAI can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters to the Editor
July 19, 2001
FLUORIDATION OF WATER
Sir, – I am not surprised to read Alison Healy (The Irish Times, July 3rd), that most people who wrote to the Forum on Water Fluoridation strongly objected to mass fluoridation of public water supplies, while they were not as strongly opposed to fluoridated products where they had a real choice, such as toothpaste (when their shop stocks the product, with and without).
The Government programme of fluoridation of all public water supplies commenced many years ago with the aim of the mass improvement and conservation of the dental health of the public at large and particularly that of infants and the young.
The Irish programme was introduced when facilities for dental care and the wherewithal to pay for them were quite different from today’s.
The State relied on the claims and experiences of other nations, notably North American, in arriving at the decision to advance this programme without the formal approval (and all the testing that entails) of the Irish Medicines Board or its predecessor body.
I recall the unsuccessful constitutional challenge by Mrs Ryan of the time seeking to have her personal right not to be fluoridated by the State in the autocratic, paternalistic manner of that time.
Given that there is new knowledge about the impact or probable impact of fluoride on human health matters other than dental for persons of different ages and both sexes, some of which is equivocal, including serious allegations that the seminal research was of questionable reliability, and the pervasiveness of both modern public water supplies (around 70 per cent of which are now fluoridated), and the products made from such (food and drink), it is urgent that Government policy should now change to allow every consumer choice in the matter of fluoridation of drinking water supplies through the cessation of mass fluoridation.
If fluoride is required as a medication it can be provided directly in the usual way to those who need it. It is unlikely that if a proposal to, say, dose public water supplies with aspirin were mooted in the morning to reduce the incidence of heart attacks without any formal medical appraisal of the product on all consumers (including those with a propensity to have strokes) that it would so easily be effected by Government, yet such a proposal is not fundamentally different than the status quo for the dosing of drinking water with hydrofluoric acid.
It is unsurprising that there has been a large growth in the consumption of bottled spring and other waters. Some of these are consumed by those seeking to avoid fluoridated water. It is invidious that poor consumers are precluded from exercising this choice.
The Minister for Health’s Forum on Water Fluoridation is, as one might expect, essentially composed of medicinal scientists, with to my knowledge, only one lawyer (William Binchy) on board. I submit that the issue of mass fluoridation is pre-eminently a matter for civil rights: the right of every consumer, including industrial consumer, to drinking and food processing water which contains no added medicines. I note that Northern Ireland consumers are not obliged to drink fluoridated water (except in products made in this part of the island).
It hasn’t escaped my attention that your medical correspondent, Dr Muiris Houston, recently reported that they (and almost every other European nation), live longer than us. – Yours, etc.,
JOHN COLGAN, Chairman, Consumers’ Association of Ireland, The Toll House, Leixlip, Co Kildare.