Members of the council’s water supply and sewerage special policy committee have been asked if the authority has adequate insurance cover for potential claims.
In a presentation, Mr. Stephen Kerr said there is growing concern in Mayo and nationally about the associated risks of Irish water fluoridation policy.
Under Irish law, water supplies must undergo fluoridation. However, every other country in Europe had stopped the practice, as have a number of Canadian cities in recent months.
Mr. Kerr highlighted a number of health facts. Ireland has the highest incidence of neurological and cardiovascular disease in the world, as well as being high up the rates list for osteoporosis, epilepsy and cancer of the intestinal tract. All these conditions have been linked to water fluoridation.
Canadian and American health authorities have advised parents that fluoridated water should not be mixed with concentrated formulae or foods intended for babies.
Mr. Kerr revealed the United States Institute of Medicine has set an upper daily fluoride dietary intake level for babies of 0.01 parts per million. In Ireland, bottle fed babies are exposed to fluoride levels 8,000 per cent higher.
Mr. Kerr said the fact councils have now been made aware of the risks, they are obliged by European law to protect the interests of consumers. To continue adding this chemical without seeking evidence that it is safe was professional negligence.
“Has Mayo County Council adequate insurance for future claims that will come against individual councils for failure to protect consumers in undertaking adequate legal, technical and safety assessment of chemicals added to public water supplies?” he asked.
Councils could ask the HSE to provide scientific evidence of testing to give themselves cover.
A template of a letter the local authority could send to the HSE to safeguard itself against any future liable case, seeking details risk and toxicological assessments, was circulated to committee members as part of the presentation.
Fluoride is added to water to prevent dental cavities. Mr. Kerr made the point that it should in fact be applied topically to the teeth’s surface, not ingested.
Committee members agreed there was a need to have a full debate on the matter, with full, accurate information on the differing views. A proposal was passed to invite a representative of the HSE to a meeting to explain their position and outline why fluoridation is necessary.
No local authority in Ireland has yet stopped fluoridation as to do so would be against the law.