Fluoride Action Network

Irish Health Committee fails bottle-fed babies once again

Source: VOICE (Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment) | February 8th, 2007
Location: Ireland

“Instead of acting to protect bottle-fed babies at risk from fluoridated water, the Joint (All-Party) Committee today wasted two hours hearing evidence that had been put to it previously and yet again shelved an important report on this harmful practice” said Voice spokesman Robert Pocock.

Parents in America were warned three months ago not use fluoridated water to make up infant formula because of the risk of dental fluorosis, however in Ireland they are still kept in the dark.

Dr O’Hickey of the Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health (‘IEBFH’) confirmed that he knew of other similar research advising against fluoridated water in infant formula, including peer-reviewed studies from his colleagues in the Dublin Dental School and quoted in the report in front of them. He admitted these findings may not have been communicated to the health minister.

John Gormley TD’s report was first put to the committee on December 14th 2006, when amendments were invited. After receiving no substantive amendments in the intervening two months, the Committee Chairman, John Moloney TD, today effectively ignored the report before the committee and instead allowed a general discussion by members of the Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health. The fact that many of the issues are fully dealt with in the report itself, simply emphasises how poorly this particular committee has approached its responsibility on this issue of growing concern to many people. One wonders if committee members have all even read it after the level of today’s debate.

While the new evidence in the recent scientific research shows that the permanent (and not only the primary) teeth are at risk of dental fluorosis, a leading member of the IEBFH, Prof O’Mullane said he was not aware of this finding. Since the researcher, Prof Stephen Levy, came in person to Ireland in September 2006 to report the policy implications of his seminal research, it is inexplicable how the IEBFH could not have been aware of this key finding about permanent teeth being at risk.

While one of the prime duties of the IEBFH is ‘to evaluate ongoing research ..on all aspects of fluoride and advise the Minister’, Dr O’Hickey wrote on November 21st 2006 ‘There have been no changes in the evidence base …since 2002’ and ‘on the question of reconstitting infant formula … fluoride tap water in the concentration used in water fluoridation poses no known medical problems for infants’.

“It is hard to imagine a more pressing issue for an Oireachtas committee to address, yet the Health Committee has failed parents of bottle-fed babies as well as the thousands of other people at risk from fluoride in drinking water” said the VOICE spokesman, adding “There has been no research in Ireland into the fluoride effects on the thyroid, bone cancer,endocrine systems or neurological function yet these risks are just as alarming as dental fluorosis.

With the recent EPA Drinking Water Report confirming the routine exceedances of aluminium in much of the nine billion litres of Irish water that is fluoridated every day, the water engineers should turn down the fluoride pumps at once; the neurological risks from fluoro-aluminium complexes are well-known, added the VOICE spokesman, “ All supplies with any history of aluminium exceedances should stop fluoridating immediately”.