THE DHSS is aware of dental decay ‘hot spots’ within the Island that could be ‘pushing up’ the statistics being used to promote water fluoridation, it was suggested at a meeting of Ramsey Commissioners.
The claim was made by chairman Mary Bruce, who said the information relating to ‘hot spots’ had been ‘let slip’ during a public meeting in the town hall two nights earlier when opposing sides of the argument were presented by director of public health by Dr Paul Emerson and Save Our Water campaigners.
It was a lively, sometimes stormy meeting, attended by around 70 people.
The reference to ‘hot spots’ was made by Dr Emerson who, in answer to questions from the floor, said the department would be reluctant to reveal their location.
‘We were advised hot spots have been identified in the Island — from which I would have thought that the underlying problems causing dental decay could be identified,’ said Mrs Bruce.
‘Also we could see where the good places are and from that see what factors, even without fluoridated water, contribute to healthy teeth.’
She said the discussion on fluoridation was very much science-based, but she felt they should look at the problem at a much lower level.
‘My view is that dental decay is not caused by a lack of fluoride in our natural water, it is in fact being caused by poor diet, poor education and a lack of basic school dental services aimed at identifying those children at risk and providing sound advice on dental hygiene.
‘I can accept that fluoridation may present a solution, however I cannot accept that we should go down that route. The causes of dental decay present other issues. We should be attacking the cause and obtaining the wider benefits which would then be obtained from better education.’
Richard Radcliffe was opposed to fluoridation after researching the subject. He described it as ‘mass medication’ and said the public of the Island were being used as ‘unsuspecting guinea pigs’, being given no choice but to ingest toxic substances — by-products of the aluminium industry — through the public water supply.
He highlighted the fact that fluoridation has never been approved by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration body, adding: ‘It is a total waste of money on a grand scale. This money should be used in a more targeted way to educate people towards improved diet and lifestyle.
‘The government would be better spending the money on education rather than mass poisoning of the population.’
Only one member of the board was pro-fluoridation. John Gaggs expressed the view that one part per million of fluoride would be a safe level and would dramatically reduce the incidence of tooth decay in children.
The commissioners resolved to inform Health Minister Eddie Teare and the town’s MHKs that they are wholly opposed to the proposal and believe more resources should be put into health education, regular school dental inspections and dietary advice.