The Government should allow consumers to choose whether or not they want fluoride in their drinking water, the Consumers’ Association of Ireland has said.
Mr Michael Kilcoyne, chairman of the association, said his organisation was eagerly awaiting the results of the Forum on Fluoridation‘s deliberations.
In the meantime, the Consumers’ Association has decided to make its position on the matter clear following a discussion at its recent quarterly meeting.
“The council is of the opinion that Government policy should now change to allow every consumer choice in the matter of fluoridation of drinking water supplies,” he said.
An estimated 74 per cent of the State’s population receive fluoridated water.
Mr Kilcoyne said the Consumers’ Association’s had decided to comment on water fluoridation because the topic had been the subject of much discussion in recent months.
He said his organisation did not intend to comment on the benefits or otherwise of water fluoridation. It would remain “neutral” on this matter.
However, he said the public water-supply system should be arranged in such a way that fluoride could be added only if requested by the consumer.
“It’s a question of choice. If you buy a glass of beer, the chances are it contains fluoride,” he said.
“The consumer should have the choice on whether or not to have water that contains fluoride,” he said.
Mr Kilcoyne said other European countries operated a system whereby fluoride could be added to the domestic water supply through a filter.
The Forum on Fluoridation was set up by the then minister for health, Mr Martin, in May last year. It is due to complete its work next month.
The purpose of the forum is to review the fluoridation of public piped water supplies.
It was also instructed to examine the programme of research being undertaken on behalf of health boards.
The Consumers’ Association is represented on the 18-person forum by its vice-chairwoman, Ms Dorothy Gallagher.