I wish to draw attention to the controversial issue of water fluoridation. Since the 1960s artificial fluoride has been added to the water supply in Ireland. We are now the most heavily fluoridated country in the world. The public has been scarcely consulted and numerous councils have called for the removal of fluoride. In addition, only a handful of countries worldwide fluoridate tap water, most having banned, discontinued or withdrawn the practice.

This mass medication of the populace is both unconstitutional and contrary to our human rights. Why should we be forced to injest this chemical against our will when fluoride toothpaste and fluoride tablets can be easily obtained if people really want it?.

There is only one perceived benefit of fluoride, namely that it supposedly helps to prevent dental caries in children up to 12 years of age (when teeth are still growing). The largest study on fluoride's effectiveness (carried out by the US National Institute for Health) showed no significant difference in caries incidences when comparing fluoridated and unfluoridated areas. Instead, repeated international studies have linked fluoride with dental and skeletal fluorosis, cancer, kidney disease, genetic mutations, Alzheimers disease, brain damage, lowering of IQ, early sexual puberty, birth defects and irritable bowel syndrome among other health problems.

The world's leading authority on the biological effects of fluoride, Dr John Yiamouyiannis estimates that 30,000-50,000 deaths each year in the US are directly attributable to fluoride.

The government's recommended 'safe limit' of fluoride is 1mg per day. At current levels of water fluoridation in Ireland, drinking just one litre of water a day provides enough fluoride to exceed this safe limit - not to mention the water we use to make carbonated drinks, beer and tea, and to wash food in. Furthermore, on hot days people drink more and fluoride is also absorbed when showering and bathing.

Many organisations have withdrawn support for fluoridation e.g. Consumer's Association of Ireland, American Cancer Society, American Nurses Association, US National Kidney Foundation, US Commission on Chronic Illness.

Artificial fluoride or hexafluorosilic acid is a waste byproduct of the fertilizer industry. It has been found to contain a toxic soup of lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury radionuclides, beryllium, vanadium and chromium. In Ireland we buy our fluoride from the Netherlands, a country where fluoridation has been banned!

I urge everyone to write to the Minister for the Environment John Gormley ( who before getting into government was against fluoridation) to stop this practice immediately.