WATER fluoridation should be optional, say Cork County Council, who will ask for the mandatory process to be ended.
The practice is undertaken by the Government to reduce tooth decay. Fluoridated water can prevent cavities.
A Food Safety Authority of Ireland report this year found there was no risk to public health from exposure to the mineral.
However, Councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla (IND) said there is continuing evidence linking fluoride to cancer, osteoporosis, and genetic damage.
“Since it was introduced, over five decades ago, it has been abandoned by almost every country in Europe, everywhere except Ireland. I believe that we are the only state on Earth which makes it a legal obligation to add fluoride to public drinking water.
“Across Europe, government after government have condemned the practice of adding fluoride to the public water supply, as dangerous and unethical,” he added.
Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) had a motion passed in 2014, by Cork County Council, asking for the practice to be stopped and he believes it now needs to be revisited.
“There should be no mandatory fluoridation and it should become a choice,” he said.
A spokesperson for County Hall said: “Fluoridation of drinking water is carried out on behalf of the HSE, in accordance with the advice of the Irish Expert Body on Fluoride. Irish Water, as the water services authority, provides fluoridation on designated schemes for the HSE and recoups incurred costs from them. Cork County Council water services staff carry out these functions for Irish Water under a service level agreement.”
Water fluoridation has been in operation in Ireland since 1964, in public, piped water supplies, with between 0.6 and 0.8 milligrams per litre. The Irish Expert Body on Fluoride said there are no known side-effects to water fluoridation, other than dental fluorosis.
Fluoridation is not common in Europe, but the United States, Canada, the UK, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, Columbia, and Chile have fluoridation schemes.