Pages Menu

Posted on Jul 12, 2010 in Fluoride, Water

Fluoridation is crude and ineffective treatment, declare top European scientists

Press release, Dublin July 12th By describing fluoridation as ‘crude and ineffective systemic fluoride treatment without a detectable threshold for dental and bone damage’ to prevent dental caries, Europe’s scientific committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) has confirmed the claim of European doctors in June 2009. They stated that fluoridation is medical treatment and therefore should be subject to medicinal risk assessment, as has been demanded of the European Commission by MEPs and European Parliament committees for years.

So SCHER’s landmark opinion on 14th June 2010 completely vindicates the position of the Directing Board of the 25,000 member International Society of Doctors for Environment (ISDE), who warned the European Commission in May 2009 that fluoridation is a medical matter which SCHER is not qualified to risk assess.  This view is now supported by SCHER itself whose ‘Pre-Consultation Opinion’ asking for yet further public comment reveals the dilemma of its position.

When the European Commission’s Health & Consumer Protection directorate, SANCO, rejected the advice of ISDE doctors, it relied on a number of the Commission’s own answers to repeated questions from MEPs in Ireland and England, the only two widely-fluoridated areas in the EU. Now that one of Europe’s top scientific committees has stated that fluoridation constitutes ‘systemic fluoride treatment’, the Commission’s answers have been exposed at best as misinformed and at worst misleading. Campaigners and MEPs in England and Ireland have invoked at length the many ECJ rulings which amply clarify what constitutes a medicine, of which the Commission and especially SANCO’s Food Law section are fully aware but which they continue to ignore.

“We also rejected SANCO’s mandate to SCHER last year for another glaring error, namely that a non-food scientific committee with a remit to deal with assessment of environmentally polluting existing substances, was assigned the task instead of EMEA, the European medicines regulator” said VOICE campaigner Robert Pocock. He added “To hide this major flaw, SCHER was instructed to collaborate with the food safety watchdog (EFSA) even though fluoride is a) not an essential nutrient and b) it must be regulated as a medicine under EU legislation because a medical claim is made for it”.

As EFSA is demonstrating right now to many health-food operators, no food may make a health claim unless fully substantiated scientifically, however SCHER has stated (p27) that ‘the caries preventive effect of systemic fluoride treatment is rather poor’ so fluoride in drinking water, could not even be approved under the Health Claims Directive.

SCHER’s intractable problems become all too evident when it states that ‘it is assumed that all ingested fluoride (ion) is 100% bioavailable’. Yet the immediately preceding section notes that not all forms are equally bioavailable and very little (naturally-occurring) calcium fluoride is absorbed or retained in the body. It has been known for seventy-five years (Kick et al) that at least a third of the soluble fluoride from drinking water is retained versus very little calcium fluoride, almost all of which is excreted.

The EFSA input to this SCHER offering is immediately recognisable as when daily safe fluoride intake is calculated with remarkable accuracy for various ages from 1 yr old to 15yrs. Yet when it comes to the safe intake for vulnerable infants –up to 1 yr old — no scientific substantiation is offered even though the infant intake is double the safe dose for older children and adults. While EFSA’s recent opinions on ingested fluoride have been widely rejected not least because of its  failure to distinguish the very different toxicology of different fluoride forms, where SCHER does name the most commonly used fluoridating chemical, it notes that ‘the toxicology of hexafluorosilicates is incompletely investigated’ (3.1.).

Since however SCHER has had the courage to admit there are huge gaps in the toxicology of  these same  fluoride chemicals used to treat people, it is now incumbent on the European Commission to immediately assign this assessment to the proper authority with the competence and expertise to evaluate the safety of treatment chemicals (ie medicines) which is EMEA. This pre-consultation opinion is a brave admission by SCHER that it is simply not qualifed for the task.

The final embarrassment for SANCO must surely be the reason it gave for dismissing VOICE’s appeal for Rapid Response to the dental fluorosis epidemic among children in Ireland, where every month some sixty teenagers in fluoridated areas get moderate or severe dental fluorosis from this crude one-size-fits-all treatment.

SANCO rejected our appeal on the basis that there was allegedly a substantial body of scientific evidence supporting fluoridation, a claim that SCHER has now shown to be false. And instead of dragging European scientists into further embarrassment, the Commission must invoke an immediate investigation by the proper agency, EMEA under Rapid Response. Otherwise each month, hundreds of Irish children (and many more in England) will remain unprotected from an illegal, crude and ineffective systemic fluoride treatment which carries a high risk of dental fluorosis.

ENDS            Info on 086 811 3071


1. Pre-consultation Opinion is on : <>

All interested parties are invited to submit their comments and proposals on the preliminary opinion to the following website <> by 15 Sept. 2010.

2. International Doctors for Environment letter to SCHER

3. While exposure to systemic fluoride is acknowledged by SCHER to carry a risk of dental fluorosis in children, the more severe forms (euphemistically called ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ and ‘severe’) are nowhere illustrated  or even defined in the opinion but are illustrated below.

Moderate dental   fluorosis

Moderate dental fluorosis

Mild dental fluorosis

mild dental fluorosis

Severe dental fluorosis

severe fluorosis

Normal enamel

normal teeth

By the age of 15 yrs, approx 1,100 children in Ireland have developed ‘mild’ dental fluorosis. Only 63% of 15 yr olds resident in fluoridated areas of ROI have ‘normal’ enamel.

Pics also from Oral Health Services Research Centre, Cork.

Fluorosis of the severity shown below is entirely absent from unfluoridated N.Ireland per the same North South Survey. [There is some mild’ fluorosis in N.I. but no ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ types]