The High Court of Justice will today rule on the projected fluoridation of all municipal drinking water following a challenge to the plan by the Union of Local Authorities, which says that “concentration of fluoride cannot be controlled and thus the public may be exposed to excessive amounts.”
The Health Ministry, which is pushing for fluoridation, will send representatives to the court today.
Only about half of all municipalities and local authorities fluoridate their drinking water, as for years they have argued that they lack the funds. Meanwhile, Jerusalem’s unit has broken down and the municipality says it does not have the funds to repair it.
The ministry argues that water is fluoridated in cities around the Western world to reduce dental cavities, especially in children. Fluoride can be purchased as drops, but ministry spokesman Ido Hadari said that those sectors with the most cavities – low-income groups who cannot afford dental care – are least likely to buy supplements and give them to babies and children.
Union of Local Authorities head Adi Eldar argued in a document send to the High Court that the municipalities do not have the ability to supervise the amount of fluoride added to the water. He claimed this “could cause health problems, such as harm to the kidneys and digestive system, genetic damage, bone damage, and reduced intelligence in children.”
The ministry’s dental medicine experts deny this, saying fluoride has been proven safe when given in the right dosage. “You would have to drink 300 liters of water a day for the amount of fluoride in the water to cause any harm,” Hadari said.
Three months ago, the High Court issued a temporary injunction allowing the local authorities delay fluoridation. They are now waiting for a final ruling.