FG renews call for ban on water fluoridation


Fine Gael has called for an immediate halt to the Government practice of adding fluoride to drinking water, describing the case against it as "overwhelming".

Mrs Avril Doyle, MEP for Leinster, said a recent decision by the Belgian government to ban its use "completely undermined" Ireland’s position. Belgium described fluoride as "an insidious poison".

Britain is the only EU country apart from Ireland to still treat the water supply with fluorine, which was originally thought to improve dental hygiene. However, recent studies, notably a UNICEF report in 1999, showed it could have harmful effects on children.

Nearly three-quarters of the population in Ireland receive fluoridated water. Salt fluoridation is the preferred method in other European countries.

"Scientific research has clearly demonstrated the poisonous effects of fluoride and to continue its use in the face of such research is unacceptable," Mrs Doyle argued.

She also attacked the Government over its delay in publishing the report from the Forum on Water Fluoridation.

"This shows a marked lack of concern for the health and welfare of the 2.8 million Irish citizens who have no choice but to swallow fluoride every day," she said.

The forum was set up by Minister for Health, Mr Martin, in September 2000 to review the fluoridation of public water supplies. It was due to report to the Minister in October last year. Nearly 90 per cent of the 1,050 submissions it received objected to fluoride in the public water supply.

A Department of Health spokesman told ireland.comthis afternoon that the long-awaited report would be released next month.

It had been delayed for a number of reasons, he said, including the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, which hampered meetings. A senior member of the forum was also incapacitated through illness for some time, he added.