- 18 Feb 14
Campaigner Aisling FitzGibbon has written an open letter to Irish Water - the new semi-State body that is taking charge of the management of the national water supply. Adrienne Murphy investigates.
In a potentially game-changing move, the Girl Against Fluoride (GAF) campaign has written an Open Letter to Irish Water, demanding action on fluoridation. Irish Water is the new semi-State company, established last year to take over the job of management of the national water supply from local authorities.
The company has already been embroiled in a number of controversies over costs, including fees paid to consultants amounting to in excess of €30million. However, the long-term implications of its decision in relation to fluoridation may be far more profound.
Seen exclusively by Hot Press, the GAF letter informs the board of the embattled semi-State company of the health risks associated with mass fluoridation; and it lays the responsibility for damage to the health of thousands of people from fluoride overexposure firmly at the feet of the board of Irish Water.
With water charges due to start in January 2015, and water meters already being installed at people’s homes all over the country, Irish Water is coming under ever-closer scrutiny by the Irish public. The Girl Against Fluoride’s challenge that Irish Water will be held responsible for health damages associated with fluoridation is sure to intensify that even further.
“The Girl Against Fluoride legal team have sent an open letter to Irish Water,” Aisling FitzGibbon confirmed to Hot Press. “We have a burgeoning number of people with fluoride-related health problems lining up to take legal cases against Irish Water and the government. As the stop-fluoridation campaign gains momentum, and awareness of the dangers of fluoride continues to grow, we’re predicting a flood of people, whose health has been damaged, wanting to sue for costs.”
Failed in its duty of care
The GAF letter is written on behalf of “the growing number of people in Ireland who object to the addition of hydrofluorosilicic acid to the public water supply,” and goes on to allude to “the growing body of public and scientific opinion that seriously questions the ethical and health grounds advanced to justify this practice.”
The strongly-worded letter argues convincingly that putting fluoride in the water is a violation of the bodily integrity of those who have no choice but to consume it, “and amounts to an assault on their person, as they have not given their informed and voluntary consent to it. In particular the rights of the child are being violated.”
The letter also focuses on an EU Commission Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) report on water fluoridation, dating from 2011.
“...the independent scientists selected by the European Commission have concluded that when fluoride from all available sources is taken into account, the upper limit of fluoride intake is exceeded by children aged between one and six years of age who consume more than 1 litre per day of artificially fluoridated water.
“The situation is even more grave in regard to bottle-fed infants who are being poisoned when this water is used to make up their formula feeds,” the letter adds. “Serious personal injury has been caused to many thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of residents here as a direct consequence of the water fluoridation policy, not the least of which is dental fluorosis. As a consequence, many victims are presently obtaining legal advice and will shortly be commencing personal injuries actions in the courts seeking damages and costs. It is expected that in the coming months the growing and very considerable resistance to the continuation of the artificial fluoridation of public water supplies will manifest itself in multiple High Court and Circuit Court actions.”
The letter points out that particular groups, such as those with diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid dysfunction, bottle fed babies and the elderly are more vulnerable than others to the toxic effects of artificially fluoridated water.
“To date,” the letter accuses, “the State has failed in its duty of care to warn of the dangers of the over consumption of fluoridated products... The State has taken it upon itself to cause and permit dental fluorosis and other adverse health effects without the informed consent of its people and without any warning whatsoever as to the risks / dangers involved in consuming the modified water.”
Storage of toxic chemical
The letter reiterates many of the points that have been made in a series of articles on the flouride issue over the past 12 months in Hot Press. Of these, perhaps the most serious is that, in full knowledge of the facts, the Irish government continues to do nothing to prevent the mass-poisoning of Irish infants, who consume formula milk made with fluoridated tap water.
“It is now generally considered dangerous for parents to make up formula bottle feeds for their babies with artificially fluoridated water,” the letter accuses. “It is also clearly dangerous for young children participating in sporting activities to consume this water above a certain level. To date, the State has chosen to bury its head in the sand. However, the day of reckoning is imminent and it will soon have to justify having failed to take action to its hard-pressed taxpayers when it has to spend millions of their euros undoing, in so far as such is possible, the damage caused. The absence of any health warning (in relation to fluoride in our water) is clearly negligent and directly results in fluoride overdose with sometimes irreversible and catastrophic consequences.”
The letter specifically places the onus of responsibility for the mass fluoridation of water now onto Irish Water.
“It is impossible,” it says, addressing the board of Irish Water, “to limit the amount of artificially fluoridated water that will be ingested especially in the absence of a nationwide information campaign. In the circumstances it is our view, and the view of our legal advisors, that Irish Water would be carrying out a reckless and negligent act by continuing to operate the public water system in a way that involves artificially fluoridating it, knowing it will result in fluoride overdose with consequent personal injury, loss and damage. You and your fellow board members have personal responsibility not to cause injury in this way, irrespective of whether or not there is a law mandating the practice.”
The GAF letter also raises disturbing questions concerning the transport and storage of Hydrofluorosilicic Acid, a dangerous toxin.
“To continue with the artificial fluoridation ofwater it will be necessary for Irish Water as the new operators of the system (or its agents ad interim, the local water authorities) to contract for the delivery and storage of Hydrofluorosilicic Acid. This acid is extremely toxic and highly dangerous. In the event that there was an accidental spillage large numbers of persons would be at risk of death or serious injury. The safe transportation and storage of the acid cannot always be guaranteed... We are of the view that the present storage and dosing facilities are seriously outdated and that neither safety nor dosing within presently permitted limits can be guaranteed. This view is supported by the fact of the recent chemical contamination of the Dublin water supply and the Irish Water Authority’s annual reports, which continue to show fluoride at levels higher than that which is legally permitted (in reckless disregard for the health of consumers).”
Unequivocal notice of harm
Other important matters raised include the fact that – unintentionally – fluoride is a primary constituent in most Irish food and drink products.
“You will no doubt be aware that Fluorosilicic Acid is not a permitted ingredient in food and medicinal products under EU and Irish law,” the latter says. “Most if not all food and drink producers in Ireland use the public water supply in the manufacture of their products. It is clear that artificially fluoridated water that has been produced by adding an unlicensed food or medicinal ingredient is wholly unfit for purpose and could result in the withdrawal of large amounts of product from the market place across the EU, causing considerable loss to the entities involved.
“We strongly believe and have been so advised that there is both a legal and a moral duty on the board of directors of Irish Water to immediately inform its customers that this product (ie artificially fluoridated water) is manufactured using an ingredient that is not permitted under EU regulations and directives and that their artificially fluoridated water ought not to be used in the preparation of foodstuffs including drinks or medicines.”
The letter states the firm belief that “the addition of Hydrofluorosilicic Acid to the public water supply is now unlawful, irrespective of whether or not it has any purported beneficial health effect for a small element of the population.”
There is a sting in the tail, with the emphasis returning to the abuse of children.
“We publicly call upon and strongly urge you,” the letter says, “to immediately undertake not to produce artificially fluoridated water in this way so that our public water supply policy may be brought into line with the standards that our fellow Europeans enjoy...
“The water fluoridation policy is causing grave and serious damage to many, including children and infants. We want to reiterate that this letter is intended to put you all on unequivocal notice of the harm being done by this outdated and discredited policy. Further, we believe that a failure to cease or at the very least suspend implementation of the policy will give rise to a cause of action in negligence and trespass to the person by all those whom you do not immediately inform of the health risks in consuming the artificially fluoridated water.
“We now demand that you immediately inform the parents of all bottle-fed infants and all members of other vulnerable groups, of the dangers to their health posed by consuming fluoridated water from the public water supply.”