SIR – I read the letter from Mr Declan Waugh, environmental scientist, with great interest. He must be admired for his tenacity in pursuing research into the dangers arising from the flouridation of the mains water supply in the USA and other countries.
I was a student at the Dental Hospital in Dublin in the early 1960s and was very impressed with the action of the Government introducing flouridation to the 26 Counties by the end of that decade.
As a final year student, I made a special study of the need for a Public Dental Health programme and studied avidly the report submitted to the Government by a committee of enquiry into the advisability or otherwise of flouridation of 1ppm in the water supply.
Thank goodness, the Irish Government of the day acted quickly and efficiently making it mandatory for the mains water supply throughout the whole country to be at the correct flouride level, so it was not subject to the vagaries of pressure groups influencing individual local councils.
The reason for this action was the then very high decay rate prevalent in the country at that time and the lack of a proper free Dental Service.
In the 1990s, thirty years after fluoridation, Prof O'Mullane of the Cork University Dental Hospital. produced a most telling report comparing the standard DMF, i.e. the Decayed Missing and Filled teeth rate in the 26 Counties with the DMF rate in the Six Counties. with populations of similar social and ethnic backgrounds.
Even though the North had had the benefit of the NHS Dental Service since 1948, the Decayed Missing and Filled teeth rate in the North, where there was no fluoridation, was twice the rate of that in the Republic, proving the efficacy of the measure.
Perhaps your readers will bear this information in mind while we wait for some relevant surveys of health problems arising from flouridation in Ireland, North and South. American and other papers and reports are interesting but we need information about what is happening in the 26 Counties.
I look forward to hearing in due course from Mr Waugh about problems in the Flouridated Republic
Dr F Baigel, BA, BDentSc,