The Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl) believes that recent intransigence by the European Commission on the drinking water fluoridation issue means it’s now time for a grassroots campaign. The campaign aims to pressurise Ireland and the UK, the two EU Member States that have chosen to mass medicate its populations via the public water supply, to stop fluoridation now.

In support of the campaign, the ANH-Intl has produced a position paper entitled Why Mass Medication with Fluoride Must Stop Now! that can be downloaded and distributed now.

Key water fluoridation questions deflected by Commission

Drinking fluoridated water may pose a health risk to children and other vulnerable groups, acknowledges the European Commission (EC).  Yet the EC continues to wash its hands of the safety issues and other thorny questions surrounding water fluoridation.

Passing the buck to Member States

On 30th August 2012, the EC provided its latest reply to two key petitions concerning the addition of hydrofluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) into drinking water in Ireland and in the UK, originally submitted in 2007 by Robert Pocock and Walter Graham, respectively.

The EC response said: “Neither the WHO nor the [Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risk] SCHER concluded that an amendment of the limit value for fluoride in the Drinking Water Directive (1.5 mg/l), was necessary because of new scientific evidence.  Both recognise, however, that there are specific aspects like the protection of vulnerable groups, such as children, that may be exposed to higher levels of fluorides if no appropriate risk management is in place”.

No confidence in ‘competent authorities’

In response to the petitioners’ concerns and new scientific evidence about the safety of fluoride in drinking water, the EC merely plans to ask the WHO to take these into account when they next review their Drinking Water Guidelines. In the meantime, it states: “It is up to the national authorities to take the necessary risk management steps”. It’s interesting that the Commission will take this stance on something as toxic as fluoride, yet on commonplace vitamins and minerals, it has seen fit to overrule EU Member States and set rules on allowed vitamins and minerals, and in due course, on maximum and minimum levels in food supplements and fortified foods.

The EU upper tolerable upper (safety) limit of 1.5 mg/l for fluoride in drinking water – which takes into account both natural and artificial sources of fluoride – is already too high in our view.  In July 2007, in recognition of safety concerns among children, the Irish added fluoride concentration was lowered to 0.7mg/l. This was followed, in January 2011, by similar US proposals. However, for some inexplicable reason, the UK (the other main proponent of public water fluoridation in Europe) aims to fluoridate at the higher level of around 1.0 mg/l. 

The EC have left 'fluoride risk management' up to Member States, but the UK is clearly lagging behind miserably. Even in Ireland, the decision to reduce the added fluoride level has still exposed children to risks! In the meantime, how long will children and vulnerable groups continue to be over-exposed to fluoride?  And if no basic advice is being given, for example, regarding the absolutely necessary preparation of fluoride-free feeds for ‘bottle-fed’ babies, then how can there be any confidence in national authorities?

Call to Action — for the Irish and UK residents only

Write to your national representative and your Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and let them know your concerns. Include a copy of the ANH-Intl position paper, or extract information from it for your personalised letter.

The main points to get across in your communications, that can even include face to face meetings which can be extremely effective, are:

  • Drinking water fluoridation exposes the most vulnerable members of society —infants and children — to known public health risks, the most sensitive of which is dental fluorosis
  • The margin between the dose that aims to reduce risk and that which causes harm is extremely narrow, and in some cases non-existent
  • The dosing of fluoride in drinking water fluoridation programmes (which generally aim to deliver around 1 mg of fluoride per litre of drinking water to the consumer) is based largely on studies carried out in the 1940s, when fluoride from other sources was absent
  • We are now exposed to many other sources of fluoride, in foods, drinks, toothpastes, mouthwashes and other oral hygiene products that, when combined with fluoride in drinking water, may contribute to excessive exposures to fluoride, especially among susceptible groups 
  • The public have not consented to the mass medication with fluoride
  • Alternatives exist, notably good toothbrushing and oral hygiene methods, including reducing the consumption of sugary and starchy foods
  • Mass medication with fluoride violates human rights
  • There appears to be no adequate legal basis for the inclusion of fluoride as a medicinal or biocidal product in the pubic water supply
  • Given the current status of knowledge on the public health risks caused by total exposures to fluoride, Member State governments (in this case Ireland and the UK), as well as the European Commission, are negligent in their duties to protect public health by allowing the continued fluoridation of public drinking water.

Refer to the ANH-Intl Position Paper Why Mass Medication with Fluoride Must Stop Now! (September 2012) for further information.

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