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Facts needed on water fluoridation

Declan Waugh, as usual, does not fail to deliver his usual overdose of bad science, tempered with a touch of apoplexy in his recent letter to the Irish Examiner (Wednesday, July 2) where he treats us to yet another cocktail of inaccuracy about water fluoridation. To his cult following in the outer reaches of the alternative health sector where homeopathy, and not medicine, holds sway he may be a hero. To those of us, who have taken the time and trouble to check his outrageous claims on this subject, he is, to put it mildly, quite misleading.

The impact of fluoride on some of our endocrine (or hormonal) systems is not disputed, as Mr Waugh might have us believe. Indeed it represents part of the mechanism by means of which it beneficially directs the body to deposit extra calcium to strengthen our teeth. And he should know some of the animal and human menstruation studies he rates so highly were dismissed as irrelevant by the US National Academies of Sciences (NAS) in its 2006 review of US water fluoridation.

Elsewhere I have accused Mr Waugh of misquoting and misrepresenting that 2006 study and I note he has reverted to form in his recent Irish Examiner letter where he states NAS “concluded that fluoride is an endocrine disruptor”. This phrase is obviously designed to convey the meaning that NAS somehow condemned water fluoridation as a bad thing.

In reality NAS made no such conclusion but simply explained and reviewed the biochemistry of fluoride, referring, as I have above, to its well-known and established biochemical properties. NAS then proceeded to dismiss any overall health concerns about fluoride’s endocrine properties and concluded that water fluoridation posed no risk to the health of the US population, although it did recommend reducing its concentration to a level which is now similar to that applied in Ireland. This latter measure was to reduce the incidence of fluorosis, where a harmless patchy whiteness can occur in tooth enamel, and not because of any concern for the overall health of the American people.

Gerry Byrne

Balbriggan

Co Dublin,


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