Independent TD Tom Gildea, is to press the Government to abandon the fluoridation of the country’s water supply.
Gildea told The Sunday Tribune last week that he would be putting pressure on the government at behind-the-scenes meetings to scrap the fluoridation programme, which has been in place since the early 1960s.
The compulsory inclusion of fluoride in the country’s public water supply has been at the centre of controversy in recent months, with some campaigners claiming that it is linked to hip fracture and weakening of the bones.
Gildea, whose Dail vote is crucial for the survival of the government, said there were too many unanswered questions about the programme. He said that he would not accept the Department of Health’s official line that fluoridation has been “an important programme for the protection of dental health”.
He maintained that the fluoridation programme had been drawn up in 1960 and that there had been significant developments in dental hygiene since then. “Knowledge (of the alleged adverse effects of fluoride) is spreading to the point where it can’t be dismissed. I have educated myself on the matter and my personal opinion is that fluoridation is no longer necessary, whether it was in the first place or not,” he told The Sunday Tribune.
Fluoridation has caused controversy in Gildea’s native Donegal, where a local councillor, Alice Bonner, is planning to propose a motion to discontinue its use on 29 May. This will be the second time Bonner has proposed this motion, having first done so last Autumn. She has questioned Department of Health arguments that fluoride in water has resulted in better quality dental health.
“Does the government honestly think that people are that ignorant that they will believe their teeth are in better condition than they were in 1960 because of fluoride in the water? We hardly even had toothbrushes in 1960.” She said it was important in a democratic society “that people are given the choice as to whether they want to drink this toxin or not”.
Bonner is seeking to have Donegal County Council follow the lead of local authorities in Dublin and Sligo, which have written to the Department of Health in Dublin expressing concern at fluoridation of water.