CONCERN about the amount of fluoride in Irish water supplies deepened yesterday following the discovery of excessive levels in urine samples supplied by Kildare county councillors.
Samples provided by eight members of the council showed six of them had amounts of fluoride high enough to give rise for medical concern, claimed an anti-fluoride group.
As the councillors come from different parts of Co Kildare, the general population of the county could be presumed to have similarly excessive levels, said Robert Pocock, spokesman for the Voice Of Irish Concern for the Environment (VOICE).
British expert Dr Peter Mansfield, who completed laboratory analysis of the samples, considers an intake of more than three milligrams of fluoride a day grounds for medical concern. Six councillors were found to be ingesting more than that level daily, including one councillor with more than twice that limit.
Fluoride is added to water supplies throughout Ireland to help fight tooth decay. But concerns that excessive fluoride can damage overall health are growing.
Cllr Mary Glennon and Deputy Emmet Stagg were unsuccessful in having an emergency debate on the issue at yesterday’s council meeting. Cllr Glennon called afterwards for immediate testing of fluoride levels in county water supplies.
Anti-fluoride groups in Ireland claim that scientific studies link fluoridation with cancer and irritable bowel syndrome and that the fluoridating chemical contains toxic levels of arsenic, chromium, nickel and mercury, said Mr Pocock.
“In Ireland where virtually all public water is fluoridated bylaw ,individuals fluoride intake is clearly out of control,” he said.
Ireland was one of the few countries where the water system is fluoridated on a mandatory basis. Other European states such as Sweden and Holland had banned the practice.
The amount of fluoride in public drinking water here is three to six times the recommended safe limit for infants in Britain.
Mr Pocock said there were many other fluoride sources which make it unnecessary to put it in public tapwater.