| 8.1°C Dublin

Babies 'exposed to serious risks' from our water

IRISH babies are facing a "health crisis" due to their exposure to fluoride in drinking water, it was claimed today.

His new report that examines the safety of our drinking water claims that infants are being exposed to "long term medical consequences" from water with fluoride in it.

Environmental scientist Declan Waugh today expressed "grave concern" for the health of Irish babies.

His report looks at the authorities' continued policy of adding fluoride to the country's drinking water.

Mr Waugh told the Herald today that Irish babies are facing a "health crisis".

"The situation surrounding the health risks of Irish babies is nothing short of alarming," he told the Herald.

It has been a long-standing Government policy to add the chemical fluoride to Ireland's drinking water.

However Junior Health Minister Roisin Shortall has asked an expert governmental group to examine this report.

Mr Waugh's report claims:

•Bottle-fed babies and young males are exposed to "unnecessary health risks" which include increased neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and reduced IQ

•Teenage boys who drink fluoridated water incur a seven-fold greater risk of bone cancer

•Patients with diabetes and Alzheimer's disease are also being exposed to serious effects of fluoride in their water

•According to the report, 78pc of Irish people consume fluoridated water.

The report states: "Even more alarming is the fact that over the period of time that water fluoridation has been practised in the Republic of Ireland, approximately 75pc of individuals born in the country whom are alive today and under the age of 50 (which represents the largest population group in Ireland), and who were bottle-fed as infants, would have been exposed to even higher levels of fluoride in drinking water."

Speaking to the Herald today, Mr Waugh said a failure to remove fluoride completely from drinking water would represent "severe negligence".

"Any parent should be extremely concerned about the level of fluoride their babies are consuming," he claimed.

In a statement, Ms Shortall said the report was being examined but rejected calls to discontinue fluoridisation.

"The Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health advises that the balance of scientific evidence worldwide confirms that water fluoridation, at the optimal level, does not cause any ill effects and continues to be safe and effective in protecting oral health in all age groups.

"The report of the EU Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), published in June 2011, has not made any findings of negative health or environmental effects concerning fluoridation of water. There are no plans to discontinue the policy of fluoridation of public water supplies, which continues to make an effective contribution to oral health in Ireland."