The fluoride dilemma is not new, and continues to prompt calls to action from concerned bodies that challenge the Government’s pursuit of a policy that has questionable benefits and documented risks to health (Letter page, Irish Medical Times, June 1, 2012, http://bit.ly/L5iQjy).
Public water fluoridation was introduced into Ireland in July 1964, on the grounds of being a low-cost public health measure considered to be safe to human health and of benefit to all sections of society, and not restricted by social boundaries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than 200 million people in 39 countries benefit from artificially fluoridated drinking water.
Dental health surveys in Ireland, conducted by the State in 1963, 1984, 1989, and 1990, concluded that water fluoridation provided a protective benefit in children at risk of tooth decay.
The widespread availability of refined sugars and its negative impact on dental health, which initially prompted the introduction of fluoridation in 1964, continues to present a public health hazard for Irish children and teenagers.
At a level of 1 part per million (1.0 ppm) in drinking water, fluoride was considered to be safe and effective as a protective mechanism against acid attack and tooth decay, a conclusion supported by the WHO, and also the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.
Currently, 73 per cent of the Irish population has fluoridated water supplies, which contain levels within the range of 0.8 ppm and 1.0 ppm. The EU directive for drinking water sets a limit of 1.5 ppm fluoride.
A review by the Irish Expert Body (IEB) of the EPA (US) standards in 2008 did not evaluate the risks/benefits for levels of water fluoride concentrations between 0.7mg/L and 1.2mg/L. Their view is that fluoridation is safe and effective and that current policy benefits overall health.
The Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoride (IDOP) condemns this policy on several grounds, including the strong links between fluoride and several health conditions, such as cancer, thyroid dysfunction and neurological impairment.
Apart from the ethical problems (see http://drnevillewilson.com/category/fluoride/) associated with State-sanctioned mass medication, health authorities are obliged to give public assurances that hydrofluosilicic acid in Irish drinking water is below toxic levels, and that such water has passed the requirements of the Codified Pharmaceutical Directive 2001/83/EEC.
Given that fluoride in public water is no longer sourced from the waste products of the fertiliser and aluminium industries, and is instead imported from the Netherlands, are details of its source a matter of public knowledge?
The recent imposition of State control over certain foods and nutrients, which forbid them to make health claims, must surely also apply to a chemical added to public drinking water for ‘preventative’ purposes and as an aid to health.
Does this, by definition, not make fluoridated water a ‘medical supplement’ that is being illegally used and in urgent need of control?
The recent requests by the Kerry County Council and Bandon and Kinsale Town Councils to have water fluoridation policy reviewed is timely and appropriate, given the lack of evidence for non-toxicity and the acclaimed health benefits of adding fluoride to Irish public water.
Dr Neville Wilson,
The Leinster Clinic, Maynooth.