THE fluoridation of water to prevent tooth decay will continue when water charges are brought in next year.
Junior Minister for Primary Care Alex White said the Government could not take a risk by temporarily halting the fluoridation of water – which is designed to prevent tooth decay.
He said there were no risks to public health from fluoridating tap water.
“The preponderance of scientific evidence supports the continuation of this policy,” he said.
It came as the Government opposed a private members’ bill from Sinn Fein proposing that the fluoridation of water supplies be halted immediately.
However, it has promised to set up a working group to examine the issue.
Independent TD Catherine Murphy said that when people were going to have to pay for water, many of them would want to be able to choose not to have it fluoridated.
Fluoridation of the water system here was introduced in the 1960s to improve the health of children’s teeth.
During the Dail debate, Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley said that 98pc of the population in Europe no longer drank fluoridated water.
“We are the only country with a state-wide policy of mandatory fluoridation,” he added.
Fianna Fail environment spokesman Barry Cowen opposed the Sinn Fein bill, saying the practice had been endorsed by reputable international bodies, such as the World Health Organisation.