Levels of fluoride in some Inishowen water supplies have have been branded ‘unsafe’ following a county-wide study into the issue.
“There is a major problem of fluoride over-exposure in Inishowen East and in Buncrana,” Robert Pocock, a campaigner with VOICE (Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment) told the ‘Journal’ yesterday.
Up to 8,500 people could be affected, as fluoride is added to the public water supply in these areas.
Following concerns in the UK and the US about the effects of over-exposure to fluoride, VOICE commissioned the study, which monitored fluoride levels in the urine of volunteers in three areas in Donegal – Inishowen, Letterkenny and Stranorlar.
Of the twelve Inishowen samples, eleven exceeded the UK safety limit. One sample was four times higher than what is regarded as safe, while four others were twice the limit. The remaining sample was just under the recommended maximum.
Robert explains why he believes these results must be taken seriously by public authorities.
“The absorption and retention of fluoride is a complex subject, however in simple terms of intake as indicated by this sample — all validated by an expert from England, Dr Peter Mansfield — there is a major problem of fluoride over-exposure in Inishowen East & Buncrana.
“Dr Mansfield, having tested hundreds of patients in the UK East & West Midlands, has more experience and understanding of measuring fluoride intake than any other medically trained person in the UK. Therefore there is confidence in these survey results.”
The late Sinn Féin Colr Eddie Fullerton was vehemently opposed to the policy of adding fluoride to drinking water. His family campaigned against plans to fluoridate water from the Pollan Dam, and the idea was eventually scrapped.
Overall, the study finds that 72% of people surveyed in Co Donegal are getting too much fluoride. This is compared to the UK average of 20% in areas where fluoride is not added to the public water supply.
The survey was carried out by Clane GP, Dr Andrew Rynne, who engaged an EU accredited pathology
laboratory to obtain the results. Urine samples from Inishowen, Letterkenny and Stranorlar were obtained from people aged between 19 and 68 and evenly split between men and women. The safe level was based on the UK Food Standard Agency guideline value based on daily fluoride intake related to body weight.
“Of the 32 subjects who volunteered, only nine tested within a safe intake” said Dr Rynne. “This confirms the suspicion that the fluoridation of Irish drinking water is the major contributor to fluoride over-exposure. Several subjects are many times over the stated safe intake.”
Robert believes the figures prove that “the addition of fluoride to Irish drinking water is completely unjustifiable”.
He adds: “These results highlight the negligence of the Health Minister Mary Harney who after over two years in office has still failed to investigate fluoride exposure in the population.