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Fluoride risks to children in Ireland highlighted by new review in Toxicology journal

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Posted on 25 Mar 2010 - by In: Stop Fluoridation

Press Release, Dublin The risks to children exposed to fluoridated Irish water are highlighted in a scientific review just published in the peer-reviewed journalToxicology [1]. It adds more weight to the call by the report of the Oireachtas Joint Health Committee in 2007 ( to stop fluoridation to protect children from the irreversible damage to tooth enamel by dental fluorosis.

Study author and scientific director of the Alliance for Natural Health( Dr Robert Verkerk, argues that if the same methods used by European and American authorities for risk assessment of vitamins and minerals are applied to fluoride, then fluoridation of the water supply would need to be banned due to the high risk of dental fluorosis in children. Said Dr Verkerk "Under current risk management criteria, the dental fluorosis risk to children, which is the most sensitive risk factor, should mean that mass fluoridation of the public water supply is stopped immediately. This is borne out by actual data from Ireland which shows that every third child is affected".

In 2006 the Oral Health Services Research Centre in Cork's final report 'North South Survey of Children's Oral Health in Ireland' [2] revealed a 700% rise in dental fluorosis among 15-year-olds since 1984. So the Health Service Executive and the health minister must know that each year some 1,800 15-year-olds resident in fluoridated areas are victims of the more severe forms of dental fluorosis. The same survey showed that in fluoridated areas only 63% of this age group have normal tooth enamel -further evidence of the harm done by fluoride to thousands of children in Ireland since its publication.

This alarming increase was well flagged by the hundred-strong Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation who see it in their surgeries every day [3]. However the token response by health minister, Mary Harney was to reduce the amount of fluoride added, but so minimal as to make little difference to the incidence of fluorosis. According to the UK NHS York Review (2000), the minister's new fluoride concentration of 0.7ppm in drinking water still results in over four in ten people getting dental fluorosis.

VOICE spokesman Robert Pocock added " Here is yet another scandal covered up by health minister Mary Harney. She still claims that formula for Irish infants should be made up with fluoridated tap water [4]. This is in complete disregard of repeated international warnings to the contrary from the American Dental Association, the US Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and even the British Fluoridation Society due to the risk of dental fluorosis.. Even worse, the same career promoters of Irish fluoridation like Prof Seamus O'Hickey, chairman of her Expert Body on Fluorides and Health, do not even admit that 'obvious fluorosis is a health problem' at all pretending instead that it is merely cosmetic."[5]

Children who may be victims of this life-long disfigurement have also been abandoned by the Irish Dental Association because when in March 2007 we appealed to that body to issue warnings to parents in Ireland similar to those of the American Dental Association, it refused outright referring us instead to the same career fluoridation promoters like Prof O'Hickey, whose Expert Body has not even hired a toxicologist.

Against this background of outright denial, VOICE lodged a petition (No 210 of 2007 ) with the European Parliament and have recently appealed to MEPs in the Environment committee to call the European Commission to account by enforcing the Medicines Directive(2004/27/EC)here. This directive prohibits all unauthorised substances, including the fluoride added to Irish drinking water, from being presented to prevent or treat a condition (dental caries). Each month that this directive is flouted by the Irish government, another one hundred and fifty teenagers living in fluoridated areas develop permanent and irreversible disfigurement of their teeth.


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[2] North South Survey of Children's Oral Health in Ireland, 2003, Preliminary Report pages 56 to 61.


[4] and pp24-26 & 34

[5] page 126

and p23

PICS of dental fluorosis

Dental fluorosis incidence in fluoridated areas of Ireland.

Risk of disfiguring dental fluorosis occur each year in some 400 fifteen year olds in fluoridated Ireland who develop 'moderate' fluorosis and a further 300 with 'severe' fluorosis, see pictures below.


By the age of 15 yrs, approx 400 children in Ireland have developed 'moderate' dental fluorosis



By the age of 15 yrs, approx 300 children in Ireland have developed 'severe ' dental fluorosis.



By the age of 15 yrs, approx 1,100 children in Ireland have developed 'mild' dental fluorosis.

  NORMAL ENAMEL (Pic: Oral Health Services Research Centre, Cork)


Source North South Survey of Children's Oral Health in Ireland 2002. (Authors H.Whelton, E.Crowley, D.O'Mullane, M.Harding, H Guiney, M.Cronin, E.Flannery, V.Kelleher.) Final Report December 2006. For % of children affected, by age, please see pages 56 to 61.

Pictures available from Oral Health Services Research Centre, Cork.

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