THE high powered forum set up by Health Minister, Micheál Martin, to review the fluoridation of public water supplies is made up mainly of pro fluoridation people, it was claimed yesterday.
Dentist Don McAuley, spokesman for the Fluoride Free Water Campaign, also said his group, which staged a protest march to the Dáil on May 17, would continue with its efforts to get fluoridation stopped.
“We want to stop the addition of fertiliser waste to drinking water.”
“A number of international scientific studies have shown that damage to people’s health is caused by fluoridation,” he said.
Mr McAuley urged the minister to stop the use of fluoride immediately, given that there were serious questions about its safety.
However, announcing the forum, which is being chaired by Professor Pat Fottrell, President of UCG, Minister Martin said it would look into all aspects of the fluoridation debate, answer public concerns and make recommendations regarding the future use of fluoride here.
He said that fluoridation had a major impact on the oral health of the Irish population since it was introduced 37 years ago. “Oral health gains have been made by children, adults and, especially, the socially deprived, with a reduction in dental decay rates of 70%,” Mr Martin said.
But he also pointed out that he was conscious of concerns being expressed by opponents of fluoridation and would give opposing groups a full opportunity to have their concerns heard and answered through the forum.
According to the Department of Health, national surveys in 1963, 1984, and 1989/ ’90, as well as numerous regional and local surveys, had confirmed a downward trend in dental decay. The introduction of fluoride toothpaste was also a factor in the decline.
By 1998, the oral health status of Irish people was on a par with, or exceeded, the status of people in most European countries, including the Nordic countries.
The Fluoride Consultative Council had also felt that fluoridation of water, at one part per million, was safe to human health and effective in reducing dental decay, something that had been confirmed by major reviews of scientific evidence since 1969. However, Mr Don McAuley said no proper health studies had ever been carried out in Ireland into fluoridation, even though there was a legal obligation on the relevant authorities to do so.
He said studies elsewhere had shown a number of adverse effects of fluoridation, including increased incidence of hip fractures, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoporosis and dental fluorosis.
Mr McAuley said his group would continue to compile a register of dental fluorosis victims, which now included over 30 children, and would be processing compensation claims.
The Sligo Action Against Fluoride group also called for an end to the use of fluoride, stating that there were no means of measuring the amount of fluoride people consumed and that people had no choice in the matter.