Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride in tap water ‘unsafe for babies’

Source: The Irish Examiner | February 27th, 2002 | by Fionnuala Quinlan
Location: Ireland

BOTTLE-FED babies are receiving excess fluoride because their formula is made using fluoridated tap water, a Food Safety Authority of Ireland assessment indicates.

The Department of Health asked the FSAI to investigate the impact of fluoridated tap water on infants amid concern at studies linking fluoride to cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, hip fractures, dental fluorosis and thyroid disorders.

Anti-fluoridation campaigners claim that new-borns who are fed formula-prepared with tap water are receiving three times the limit recommended by the British Medical Association, while a three-month old child receives up to six times the limit.

While the FSAI has not yet finished its report, the scientific committee noted at a meeting late last year that: “the assessment indicates that infants below the age of four months are exposed to doses of fluoride that exceed the recognised ‘no observable effect’ limit.”

Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoride (IDOF) and the Green Party yesterday said babies are receiving unsafe levels of fluoride. They accused Minister of State for Food Safety, Dr Tom Moffat of misleading the Senate earlier this month when he failed to mention the scientific committee’s comments.

“This is outrageous behaviour and I will be raising the Food Safety Authority’s findings in the Dáil this week and insisting that their fluoridation report is published,” Green Party deputy John Gormley said.

IDOF spokesman Dr Don MacAuley said that dentists attached to IDOF would now advise parents against using fluoridated water in their baby’s feed.

“In the US, the Academy of General Dentistry advises that in fluoridated areas “it is recommended that parents use low fluoride bottled distilled water or tap water with a reverse osmosis home water filtration system attached that removes most of the fluoride.

“As a group of health care professions, we have a duty to protect public health and therefore we will be initiating a nationwide publicity campaign to highlight the dangers of using tap water to make up infants’ feed,” Dr Mac Auley said.

FSAI deputy chief executive Alan Reilly said the scientific committee had not yet concluded its report or defined what constitutes an “observable effect level”. He said the comment being quoted by IDOF and the Greens was part of an on-going discussion and not the FSAI’s conclusion. The FSAI would issue its full report in approximately one month.

A spokesman for Dr Moffat said the FSAI report had been delayed because the issues are comple