A GROUP of more than 100 dentists have demanded an end to fluoridation of tap water over cancer fears.
Their action came yesterday following a study by the Harvard School of Dental Health which found an increased cancer risk in children.
The research has already led to the Environmental Working Group, a Washington research organisation, calling for the US government to list fluoride as a carcinogen.
In Ireland public water supplies have been fluoridated by law since the 1960s and we remain one of the few countries in Europe still adding the chemical.
Dr Don McAuley of the Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation (IDOF) said the US research shows that boys drinking fluoridated water from the age of five to ten will experience a greater risk of osteosarcoma bone cancer when they are older.
Another study comparing figures between the Republic of Ireland (fluoridated) and Northern Ireland (unfluoridated) also found a 40pc rise in bone cancer levels. In 1996, Northern Ireland refused to dose drinking water with chemical fluoride when 25 out of 26 councils voted against water fluoridation because of concerns over fluoride health damage.
Dr McAuley said that although osteosarcoma is considered a rare childhood cancer, it is one of the most prevalent in young males aged 9-20 and is described by the Boston research as a highly lethal malignant tumour with an average survival rate of only three years.
“The fluoride cancer risk reported . . . confirms growing health concerns about the whole fluoridation process,” he said, adding: “Last month, IDOF slammed Mary Harney for doing nothing to combat the near epidemic levels of fluoride tooth damage dental fluorosis which has seen a seven-fold increase in the last 20 years.”
Dr McAuley said the group also raised the issue of further health damage.
“Since half of all the fluoride swallowed is stored in the body in hard tissues such as teeth and bones there has always been the question: if fluoride is damaging teeth, what is it doing to our bones?
“I see fluoride tooth damage every day in my dental practice and as the teeth are the windows of the skeleton, I wonder what this chemical is doing to my patients’ bones.”
He said the Forum on Fluoridation concluded three years ago that fluoride levels should be reduced.
“IDOF no longer wants the fluoride taps turned down, we want them turned off . . . how many cavities do you have to save to justify the death of one young man from osteosarcoma?”