Probe urged into fluoride in water link to cancer
 The Irish Examiner 09 Jan 2002

 

By Fionnuala Quinlan

THE Government has been urged to investigate the link between bone cancer and fluoridated drinking water after a study found 40% more people in the Republic contract the disease than in the North.

Research carried out at Boston University of School of Public Health, using data from the Irish National Cancer Registry and its northern equivalent, found 40% more people suffer from the rare bone cancer osteosarcoma in the Republic than the North, where water is not fluoridated.

Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation warn that the research is consistent with existing studies which have linked osteosarcoma to fluoridated drinking water.

Spokesman Dr Don MacCauley said that while the Irish study did not conclusively link the cancer to fluoridation, it underscored the need for urgent research into the health effects of adding 2,000 gallons of hydrofluosilic acid to drinking water in the Republic.

"The legislation, which permits fluoridation in this country requires the Minister of Health to carry out health studies into the effects of nearly 40 years of this mass-medication. This research has never been done," Dr MacCauley said.

"Another fluoride health alert is screaming but when will the Minister of Health start listening? When will the minister fulfil his duty and carry out the health studies required by law?

"It is outrageous that there are still no plans for health studies.

"Instead, Minister Martin has delegated his responsibilities to a pro-fluoride sham of a forum, which cannot even get its act together to report on time," Dr MacCauley said.

The report by the Government's Forum on Fluoridation was due for publication at the end of October, but it has been postponed until later this month.

Fluoride has also been linked to cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, hip fractures and thyroid disorders, while an American study found fluoride exposure could produce lower IQ levels in children.

Ireland is the only country in Europe to insist that drinking water be fluoridated.

"In spite of all the evidence about the dangers of fluoride, Ireland has never carried out a survey. That is illegal," Dr MacCauley said.

Director of the National Cancer Registry Dr Harry Comber said osteosarcoma was a relatively rare cancer of the bones which usually affected children and teenagers up to age of 20.

However, he cautioned against drawing firm conclusions from the osteosarcoma research in the Republic and the North because he said the disease was relatively rare and the populations on both sides of the Border were quite small.

A spokesman for the Department of Health was yesterday unavailable for comment.


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