50 years of failure – still not enough research to say if fluorides are harmful – HRB.ie

ImageThe long awaited HRB Review of  studies probing How Fluorides Affect Human Health has found no definitive evidence that fluoridation of public water supplies  has any positive or negative effects on health. 

So after  more than a years’ work by Irish researchers, they have  concluded that not enough research  has been done for them to say whether fluorides in water are harmful or not, despite 50 years of a state enforced ‘health’ policy that costs  around ten million euro per annum.

Marie Sutton, Rachel Kiersey, Louise Farragher and Jean Long are the researchers who conducted the www.HRB.ie  Review of   recent scientific  studies  into how fluoridated water affects human health.

The  Review paper was published  by Ireland’s Health Research  Board on 2 June 2015 and  it looks at studies published up till 2014. I have not had time to read this report yet – the summary makes it hardly seem worth the effort. According to Paul Cullen, writing in the irish Times: “The board’s review relies heavily on two international studies on the topic – the York review from 2000 and an Australian review from 2007.It also examines all additional research published in internationally peer-reviewed papers on the topic of fluoride and health effects between 2006 and 2014”.

In defence of the  HRB researchers, the terms of reference of the report had stringent cut-off points  that ruled out inclusion of  a 2015 study by Professor Stephen Peckham of the University of Kent, which shows a  very strong link between fluoridated water and thyroid illness.

If Irish Health Minister Leo Varadkar uses this review to continue justifying an annual  spend of ten million euro a year on toxifying our children’s water, he is mad.

Perhaps   a few Irish environmental scientists like Declan Waugh will take some time to study the  HRB’s conclusions.Waugh has been researching the effects of fluoride compounds on health assiduously for far longer than the four researchers named above. More relevant, however, are two more recent studies by Professors  P Grandjean and S Peckham  which produced firm conclusions  Both advise policymakers that fluorides in water are toxic and are capable of resulting in significant  harm to human health, particularly by contributing to the development of a number of health conditions, like  ADHD, kidney disease and thyroid illness.

I am sure that campaigners and supporters of the Fluoride Action network will also  be disappointed by the HRB’s failure to come to any conclusion other than that more research is required. Until  better safety assurances can be given if such studies are ever carried out, the mandatory policy fluoridation that costs us  millions should be abandoned forthwith.

Enough time has been wasted on  reviews, especially when those who suffer most harm from fluorides in water are likely to be the tiny babies whose mothers cannot breastfeed.

Professor Peckham’s recent research into patients at UK GP surgeries showed that people who drink fluoridated tap water are three times more likely to have a thyroid illness. Like the work by Prof Grandjean et al, Peckham’s study was widely publicised but not included in the HRB.ie review.

So it’s over to you Leo Varadkar – What is the cut-off point when it comes to keeping the promises on health made in 2001  by your Fine Gael colleagues Ivan Yates and James Reilly?

And how can you justify the millions of euro the Irish state mandates that Irish Water must spend on fluoride compounds, when evidence continues to mount against the toxic policy, and when so many communities around the world are taking action to remove it from their water?

Most recently the USA, which was the first country to fluoridate water,  decided to reduce the maximum permitted level of the compound allowed in  US water to the same level  that is currently allowed in Ireland  -0.8 parts per million gallons of water.Health Campaigners  say  even this is still too risky, while local authorities want to end the costly policy which has divided communities and lays them open to expensive lawsuits.  The Health  Minister would do well to listen to colleagues in local and central government who believe  it is time to end the mandatory policy, which costs us around 10 million euro annually. The state of  Israel joined more than 500 communities around the world to ditch water fluoridation in 2013,  while many in the Fine Gael and Labour parties want it out.Image1

By abolishing mandatory fluoridation, Leo Varadkar would build on the good feeling generated about ireland abroad in the recent marriage referendum and give some good news to constituents who are forced to pay for  expensive filters to remove fluorides.

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