SIR – Currently, the Environmental Pillar, comprising of 26 independent environmental non-governmental organisations in Ireland has an online petition calling on the European Commission to pass a Soil Directive to safeguard Irish and European soils.
This petition is welcome as without sustainable agricultural food production civilization as we know it, will perish.
However, few people are aware that in recent decades the widespread application of phosphate fertilisers on agricultural lands has resulted in unprecedented increases in soil fluoride levels, which now threaten not just the health of animals that graze on these lands, but the entire food chain and ecosystem.
Alarmingly in 2016, researchers in New Zealand (Kim et al, Environmental Earth Sciences, January 2016), in the largest study of its type ever conducted, found that due to the use of phosphate fertilisers, soil thresholds for preventing chronic fluorosis in grazing animals are being substantively passed and suggested that most New Zealand agricultural lands will be rendered unsuitable for pastoral production in the near future. Think about that for a moment and then consider that the entire agricultural sector in Ireland is dependent on milk and meat production from grazing animals, which are also dependent on artificial phosphate fertiliser inputs.
Clearly, similar large-scale studies are also required for Ireland if the government is to meet or maintain its Food Harvest 2020 targets. Without addressing fluoride toxicity in Irish soils, the future of farming in Ireland may be very short-lived.
and Fluoride Researcher,