The designation was conferred on Bantry over the weekend after six businesses installed filtration systems they say will give their customers the choice to consume food and drinks prepared with fluoride-free water.
Owen Boyden, the co-ordinator of the West Cork Fluoride Free Campaign, which is spearheading the Fluoride Free Towns movement, insisted the installation of the filtration systems is completely legal.
“The filters are perfectly legal and are being sold up and down the country. As far as I know, there is no legislation preventing it. People deserve a choice,” said Mr Boyden.
He hopes Bantry’s initiative will inspire other towns to follow suit.
Fluoride Free campaign teams are now working with other West Cork towns — including Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Macroom, Kinsale, Castletownbere, and Bandon — to help them achieve fluoride-free status.
The West Cork Fluoride Free campaign, which is working to reverse Ireland’s mandatory policy of water fluoridation, supported and advised six Bantry-based firms to go fluoride free.
Organico Café, Organico Shop, Trawl and Trend cafe and restaurant, The Fish Kitchen restaurant, The Mariner bar, and Wokabout, which makes ready-to-go Thai meals, each spent up to €700 on the installation of a reverse osmosis water filtration systems.
Hannah Dare of Organico shop and café said she is excited to be cooking and making drinks with fluoride-free water. “Of course we are unhappy that this costly step has been necessary, but Organico’s customers are delighted and the feedback is incredibly positive,” she said.
“There is huge public health concern over Ireland’s mandatory water fluoridation and hopefully more and more businesses will come onboard the fluoride-free campaign.”
Bantry councillor Diarmaid Murphy congratulated the businesses involved.
“With many businesses in West Cork planning to follow suit, this is only the beginning of a national campaign that without question will be a positive move towards improving public health,” he said.
Ireland in the only country in the EU and one of only two in the world which implements a national mandatory public water fluoridation policy.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the expert body set up to monitor the policy insist that the fluoride concentrations in public drinking water poses no known medical problems to the general population.
However Mr Boyden said his fluoride-free campaign has received widespread cross-party political support.
If more towns follow Bantry’s example, he said, the Government could be forced to reconsider its “isolated mandatory water fluoridation policy” and end what he described as an “outdated and dangerous public health initiative”.
Mr Boyden cited reports which have linked fluoride to incidents of osteoporosis, arthritis, bone fracture, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, endocrine disruption, gastrointestinal effects, hypersensitivity, kidney disease, male infertility, pineal gland dysfunction, skeletal fluorosis, thyroid disease, and acute toxicity.
See fluoridefreetowns.com for more.