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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019
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Column: I believe water fluoridation is harmful to my health, why should I pay for it?

With water charges due to be implemented, Aisling Fitzgibbon argues that if people are paying for water they should have more of a say about what’s in it.

Aisling Fitzgibbon

INSTEAD OF BEING free, as it has been in Ireland, water is now a commodity that Irish people will be asked to pay for. Unless you are one of the lucky few to own a well you will have to pay up to €350 per year for water and also face a bill of €500 to pay for the installation and the cost of the new digital/smart meter that will read your consumption digitally.

But, surely, if people are paying for water they have the right to demand quality?

We are the only country in Europe, mandated by law, to be fully fluoridated. Countries such as Holland banned water fluoridation under their constitution. This was due to the work of Dr Hans Moolenburgh, a Medical Physicial, Cancer Specialist and Clinical Ecologist, who, along with other researchers, showed that water fluoridation subjected the population to low grade poisoning by fluoride with wide ranging medical effects. Other countries have rejected water fluoridation for health and ethical reasons. None of those countries ask their citizens to pay for fluoridated water.

Consumption of fluoride

The concentration of fluoride in the water supply of between 0.6 to 0.8 ppm (as Ireland’s is) should not be deemed ‘safe’ for humans as it does not take into account the amount of water that people consume or their health status. Athletes and those involved in manual work can drink litres of water a day. This would mean that they are consuming far more fluoride than people who drink less. The World Health Organisation set a safety limit of 1.5 mg of fluoride a day as an upper safety margin, yet people in Ireland are being exposed to far more than this because fluoride is not only in our water but also in our food.

Tea drinkers are especially vulnerable to fluoride toxicity as tea itself contains high levels of fluoride. People who drink supermarket economy brands of tea could be exposed to levels of up to 6mg a day which would leave them predisposed to the detrimental effects of fluoride such as dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis.

The Girl Against Fluoride campaign educates the public on the presence of fluoride and its effects on the health of the Irish people. It’s been given the support of local County Council in Kerry who voted to have fluoride removed from the water supply. Skibbereen, Clonakilty and New Ross Town council have also voted to have the fluoride removed.

Removing it from our water supply

Fine Gael Councillor from Skibbereen Brendan McCarthy recently tabled a motion for all councils to support the removal of fluoride from the water supply, however – because it is mandated nationally – the councils having no power to change public policy. Brian Stanley, Sinn Fein TD, recently put forward a bill in the Dail to reverse the policy of mandatory water fluoridation. This has garnered the support of Labour Party Chief Whip Emmett Stagg who believes that cross party support is needed to get this bill passed.

The US National Research Council (2006) found several lines of information that indicate an effect of fluoride exposure in thyroid function. Thyroid dysfunction can lead to problems such as depression, fatigue and weight gain. Despite us being told that it is in our water to prevent dental caries data from the World Health Organisation (2012) shows we have some of the worst teeth in Europe.

Dental fluorosis

What’s more we also have a high level of dental fluorosis which is directly linked to water fluoridation. The HSE have admitted that fluoride causes dental fluorosis which worsens over time leading to mechanical breakdown of the surface. This particularly affects undernourished children for whom the policy was intended in the first place. Unfortunately their parents are less likely to be able to afford the expensive, cosmetic repairs needed.

As tax payers, we are already paying for fluoridated water. Water charges will mean that we will be asked to pay twice for contaminated water. Surely it should be illegal to ask people to pay for water that contains toxic chemicals that are harmful to health? This is the ideal time to demand that any water we pay for is fluoride-free. Now is the time for us to create enough political pressure to demand the end to the 50 year mass medication of the Irish people.

Aisling FitzGibbon who set up ‘The Girl Against Fluoride’ campaign. You can find out more about the campaign at www.TheGirlAgainstFluoride.com. Other useful sites include www.FluorideAlert.org and www.enviro.ie.

Read: The naked truth? Anti-fluoride protesters strip off to demand ‘safe’ water>

Read: Proposed bill would ban fluoride from Ireland’s water>

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Aisling Fitzgibbon

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