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Fluoride body raises epidemiology expertise gap

The Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health has written to the Department of Health to raise concerns around a gap in applied epidemiology expertise in its membership, this newspaper has learned.

The issue was raised at the February meeting of the expert body and followed the resignation of a member. According to the minutes, it was noted that the body would write to the Department to highlight “the gap in expertise in applied epidemiology…It was also agreed that representation in eco-toxicology would be advantageous.”

A spokesperson for the Department told the Medical Independent (MI) it was examining  the request.

“The expert body has written to the Department advising of a gap in expertise in applied epidemiology, following the resignation of one of its members,” the Department spokesperson told MI

“It has also identified a need for expertise in the field of eco-toxicology. The Department will be seeking to fill the vacancy and appoint another member with the required expertise as soon as possible.”

The Department’s spokesperson added that the expert body would be playing a role in the implementation of the new national oral health policy.

“The Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health is one of the partner agencies which will have a role in supporting the implementation of ‘Smile agus Sláinte: The National Oral Health Policy’,” said the spokesperson.

“Forty-one actions have been identified within the policy. Many of these actions relate to fluoride, ie, Action 2 ‘to maintain water fluoridation’ and Action 30 ‘to continue to review emerging evidence in relation to water fluoridation.’

“The expert body will have an important role in this regard, providing independent, evidence-based advice in accordance with its terms of reference.”

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