FEARS over an apparently unnecessary chemical in our water defined a lengthy debate about Kerry's water quality at the county council this week.
The chemical flouride - found in our water and toothpaste - was the focus of many councillors' anxiety as they urged management to stop putting it into the county's drinking water supply.
Kerry County Council cannot do so, however, as it is legally obliged to add flouride by national legislation, councillors heard. It is the HSE which is responsible for the addition of flouride to Irish drinking water.
The flouride debate came as Director of Water Services Oliver Ring presented a report on the quality of the county's drinking water; which found that it had improved in general in the course of the past year.
Sinn Féin councillor Toireasa Ferris pointed out that it is not recommended to give flouride to newborn babies, adding that Chile had recently cut it out of its water over health fears.
Mr Ring said that flouride was put in solely to prevent tooth decay.
Independent Cllr Brendan Cronin said that Germany, Finland, Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and Sweden all refuse to use flouride in water. "They musn't have a tooth in their head at all!" he remarked to some mirth in the chamber.