Fluoride Action Network

Irish get teeth into man-made fluoride

Source: European Voice | December 18th, 2003
Location: Ireland

IRISH activists and MEPs have called upon Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom to remove wording from an EU drinking-water directive that allows a type of fluoride classified as an ‘industrial waste chemical’ to enter local water supplies in Ireland and the UK.

Hexafluorosilic acid has been added to certain regional water supplies in both member states since the early 1960s.

At present, some three million Irish and six million UK citizens (mostly in Birmingham and the West Midlands region) drink water containing this man-made fluoride, which differs from the naturally occurring fluoride often found in water supplies with high calcium levels.

“Despite receiving numerous consumer complaints via Irish and UK MEPs, the commissioner has taken no action,” said Robert Pocock, anti-fluoride campaign manager for Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment.

“The Commission’s attitude to this hazardous chemical in drinking water has been indefensible.”

No other member state barring Spain has ever allowed the fluoride, widely used in North America since the 1950s because it is thought to strengthen children’s teeth, into its own water supplies.

Voice of Irish Concern and other groups, along with Irish MEP Avril Doyle, are sounding the alarm because member states must meet a 25 December deadline to implement the drinking water directive.

In an open letter to Wallström, the groups point out how “bizarre” it is that the directive undermines itself by allowing the deliberate addition of the pollutant to drinking water.

“One of its articles prohibits member states from adopting measures leading ‘to any increase in the pollution of waters used for the production of drinking water,” they point out.

Copyright 2003 The Economist Newspaper Limited. All rights reserved.