Irish Senator Accuses Government Health Officials of Witholding Negative Evidence about Fluoridation
The Irish Examiner 22 Dec 2001
By Fionnuala Quinlan
The Government was last night accused of delaying a report into the effects of water fluoridation on bottle-fed babies.
This is because there are fears the report would present a damaging view of fluoridation ahead of the release of a major study into the practice, Fine Gael Senator Avril Doyle claimed.
Newborns who are fed formula prepared with tap water are receiving three times the fluoride limit recommended by the British Medical Association, while a three-month old child receives up to six times the limit, according to Senator Doyle.
Last summer, Junior Health Minister Dr Tom Moffatt told Senator Doyle a risk assessment report into the effects of fluoridation on infants would be published by September.
But the Food Safety Authority, which is carrying out the investigation, yesterday admitted it would not be ready until next April.
A separate report by the Department of Health's Forum on Fluoridation was due for publication at the end of October, but will not now be released until January, a department spokesman said.
Fluoridated drinking water has been linked to cancer, gastro-intestinal disorders, hip fractures and thyroid disorders, while a study published in the US medical journal NeuroToxicity found that fluoride exposure could produce lower IQ levels in children.
Ireland is now the only country in Europe to insist that drinking water be fluoridated.
Senator Doyle yesterday said she believed the Department was withholding the infant report amid fears it would paint a negative picture of fluoridation ahead of the forum's wide-ranging report.
"It looks as though Dr Moffatt's report (on infants) is being sat on until the forum report is released. If his report came out negative it would pre-empt the forum report," she said.
"We are putting 2,000 gallons per day of this acid imported from Holland - where they have long since abandoned fluoridation of the public water supplies - into our public water supply, and it is contaminated," Senator Doyle said.
She added that according to documents received and researched under the Freedom of Information Act, over 25% of this product has been shown to have serious contaminants such as arsenic, lead, antimony and phosphorous pentoxide which, she said, as the Minister knows, contains uranium 238.
Senator Doyle urged Minister Moffatt to immediately issue a directive against using fluoridated water for infant formula pending the outcome of the forum report. "In the case of fluoridation, 98% of Europe is against it. That should surely prompt us to ask some questions," she said.
Anti-fluoridation group, VOICE, yesterday accused Minister Moffatt of abandoning Ireland's infants.
"Since seven babies out of 10 in Ireland are bottle-fed, thousands of Irish infants are at risk from water fluoridation. But Minister Moffatt simply turns a blind eye to it.
"In Ireland, nine county councils, two corporations and seven urban district councils have voted to end fluoridation, but have been overruled by the Department of Health," the group said.
Fine Gael has pledged to end fluoridation if they gain power.
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