'Dangerous' levels of fluoride in Dail taps, warn experts
Published 19/11/2013 | 16:46
TDS and senators who consume water from the Oireachtas canteen are being exposed to a "dangerous level" of fluoride, according to a new study.
An expert has found that the tap water used by politicians and officials in Leinster House exceeds the maximum level of fluoride allowed under law.
Environmental scientist Declan Waugh took a sample of the water provided in the Oireachtas canteen during a recent visit and concluded that it contained 0.9 milligrams of fluoride per litre – which is above the permitted statutory limit of 0.8 milligrams per litre.
Politicians who have been using the water to make cups of tea are now exposed to greater health risks, Mr Waugh said last night.
The results of the tests were sent to the Oireachtas authorities yesterday.
The practice of adding fluoride to the country's water supply – done in order to prevent tooth decay –has divided politicians and health experts for a number of years.
The issue was the subject of a Dail debate earlier this month during which a cohort of TDs called for a ban on the practice. A private members bill, put forward by Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley, was opposed by the Government and Fianna Fail. Other opponents to the bill said the practice has been endorsed by bodies such as the World Health Organisation.
"It is a scientific fact that the upper safe tolerable levels of exposure to fluoride are vastly exceeded by individuals living in the Republic of Ireland," Mr Waugh told the Herald.
"I will be writing to ministers and TDs later in the week to inform them that, as far as I'm concerned, they are criminally liable for the negative health effects to people as a result of fluoridation."
Fianna Fail senator Averil Power, who has even differed with her party colleagues on the matter, told the Herald that she believed the issue should be subject to a fresh review.
"People need to have full confidence in their water supply. I believe that a fresh review of the fluoridation of our water should be carried out in light of the fact that many other countries have stopped adding fluoride to their tap water due to health concerns," she said.