Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (574, 659)

Finian McGrath

Question:

574. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health his views on using fluoride in water; if Irish Water will continue that practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21605/14]

View answer

Finian McGrath

Question:

659. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an updated health view on fluoride in water; if it is safe for our citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21600/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 574 and 659 together.

The Forum on Fluoridation, established in 2000, reviewed the policy of water fluoridation and recommended in 2002 that it should continue as a public health measure. In 2011 a review by the European Union Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risk (SCHER) concluded that there are no known negative health implications from fluoridating water at levels used in the EU. The balance of scientific evidence worldwide confirms that water fluoridation, i.e. the adjustment of the natural concentration of fluoride in drinking water to the optimal recommended level for the prevention of dental caries, does not cause any ill effects and protects the oral health of the population.

There are no plans to cease fluoridation. Nevertheless, the Department of Health keeps this policy under constant review. As part of this ongoing work, a review of evidence on the impact of water fluoridation at its current level on the health of the population and on the environment is being conducted by the Health Research Board on behalf of the Department. The Department is also collaborating in a University College Cork-led research project, "Fluoride and Caring for Children's Teeth" (FACCT). The study will consider the impact of changes on the oral health of children, following policy decisions relating to toothpaste use by infants and young children made in 2002 and the reduction in the level of fluoridation in drinking water introduced in 2007. In addition, the pilot phase of a study on general and oral health findings in adults linked to the duration of exposure to fluoridated water as part of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging (TILDA) is underway.