The Forum on Fluoridation has expressed disappointment at the Government’s failure to implement its recommendations.
Almost a year ago, the forum issued its report recommending that the level of fluoride in water be reduced from between 0.8-1.0 ppm to between 0.6-0.8 ppm.
Yesterday, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children asked why the recommendations had not yet been implemented. Forum member Dr Joe Mullen said he was disappointed at this. Asked by the committee chairman, Deputy Batt O’Keeffe, if this was a serious omission, Dr Mullen said it was certainly preferable that the measure be introduced.
Ms Olivia Mitchell, Fine Gael spokeswoman on health, said it was surprising that the reduction in fluoride levels was not immediately implemented as it would save up to E1 million.
Last night, a Department of Health spokesman said an expert group was being set up to oversee the implementation of the recommendations, and to advise the Minister for Health on the issue.
Dr Don MacAuley, chairman of Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation, told the committee that the Forum on Fluoridation had failed.
He claimed that the majority of the forum’s members were pro-fluoridation, that they had ignored the European experience and that they had “buried” a recommendation from the Food Safety Authority that infants not be fed formula made up with fluoridated tap water. He asked the committee to investigate this further.
Dr Wayne Anderson, chief food science specialist with the Food Safety Authority, said the recommendation had been withdrawn when members of the scientific committee had expressed concerns about the report.
Six out of 15 scientists missed the meeting that approved the report, and some of them queried the decision.
The Green Party chairman, Mr John Gormley, said that this was “a dramatic about-turn”, and called for further hearings on the issue.
“This is clearly a pivotal matter, as even those who came before the committee admitted that had the initial report been approved, it would have meant the end of water fluoridation in Ireland,” he said.