Fluoride Action Network

Greens launch bill to stop fluoridation in Ireland

Source: Green Party Press Office | February 7th, 2002
Location: Ireland

The Greens Fluoridation Bill, which is published today, will repeal the current legislation of mass-medicating the Irish population without their consent with the chemical fluoride.

Green Party Dáil Health spokesperson, John Gormley T.D., launching the Bill said, “Today the Green Party is publishing the first ever Bill to repeal the Water Fluoridation Act of 1960. We are appealing to the Minister of Health to stop his prevarication on this issue and to accept the Green Party’s Private Members Bill.”

“Water fluoridation is a very serious issue and will become a core issue for the Greens during the election campaign. In post-election negotiations the question of water fluoridation is, in our view, a ‘non-negotiable’. We would expect this simple piece of legislation to be enacted within the first month of a new government forming. As far we are concerned there is no room for further debate on this issue.”

“The Forum set up by the Minister to examine the issue is a disgraceful waste of tax payers money and is guaranteed to produce a ‘white-wash’. It has undermined and delayed the work of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, which is engaged in compiling its own report on this most important issue.”

“Our objections to water fluoridation are based on a number of factors:

a) We disagree with mass medication on ethical grounds. In our view freedom of choice ought to be an integral part of health care;

b) All studies show that we are not fluoride deficient. In fact, studies carried out in this country show that we have an excess of fluoride which is a toxic substance, in our bodies;

c) There is now a scientific consensus that fluoride does not work systemically, but rather topically and therefore does not need to be ingested;

d) The increase in fluorosis, which is a manifestation of fluoride toxicity, is a real cause of concern;

e) The many reports from all over the world which link fluoride with other health effects.”

Mr. Gormley said that “we believe that the Minister of Health should at all times rely on the precautionary principle, i.e., if there is any doubt, leave it out. And there is a real doubt about fluoride at this stage.”

Cllr. Deirdre de Burca, Joint Health Spokesperson said that “when fluoride was introduced it may have been for the best of intentions. Ireland suffered a very high incidence of dental caries and there were very few dentists to deal with this problem. Now however, Ireland is a modern and wealthy country and levels of overall hygiene and health have improved greatly. All the evidence shows that where fluoridation is stopped there is no increase in dental caries.”

“Also most toothpastes now contain fluoride and if an individual wishes to use such a toothpaste or a mouth wash containing fluoride, they have the freedom to do so. There can be no doubt that there has been a huge increase in sources of fluoride and that it therefore makes sense to stop the point source of fluoride, mainly fluoridated water.”

“We have real concerns about the use of fluoridated water for babies’ bottles. At the very least the Minister should put warnings on fluoridated toothpaste, as is the case in the United States, inform mothers not to use fluoridated water for baby formula and return power back to local authorities to make decisions relating to fluoridation or not.”

Mr. Don MacAuley of Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation and the national citizens group Fluoride Free Water (www.fluoridefree.com) welcomed the Green Party’s new initiative on water fluoridation. “This Fluoridation Bill will repeal the current legislation of mass-medicating the Irish population without their consent with chemical fluoride. We are also calling on other parties and individuals to support this bill and reject this unethical, unsafe and undemocratic practice.”

Mr. MacAuley said that his organization opposed fluoridation for the following reasons:

Infringement of our human rights. “Fluoridation is compulsory. There is no freedom to choose with this form of medication. The Irish government has never requested the free informed consent of the population to give them fluoride in their water supply. This is contrary to the Council of Europe’s ‘Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine’ (1997).”

Dental Fluorosis. “Dental fluorosis is tooth damage caused by swallowing fluoride. Current estimates, of dental fluorosis, state that between 24-50% of all Irish children and teenagers have some form of this condition. This is the first visible sign of fluoride poisoning.”

Health damage. “There are numerous international scientific studies linking fluoride/fluoridation with serious health conditions such as cancer, hip fractures, osteoporosis, thyroid dysfunction, neurological impairment and irritable bowel syndrome.”

“Most dentists would refuse to prescribe for a patient s/he has never met, whose medical history s/he does not know, a substance which is intended to create bodily change; with the advice, take as much as you like but you will take it for the rest of your life, because some children have tooth decay. This is the water fluoridation ethos.”

Fluoridation (Repeal of Enactments) Bill 2002


The purpose of this Bill is to repeal the Health (Fluoridation of Water Supplies) Act 1960.

There is now a scientific consensus that fluoride works topically and does not need to be ingested to protect teeth. All the evidence shows that too much fluoride in the body gives rise to fluorosis – which is on the increase – and to other health effects. When water fluoridation has been stopped in other countries, there has been no increase of dental caries as a result. This Bill means that no fluoride will be added by local authorities to Irish drinking water supplies.

5th February 2002 John Gormley, T.D.